Electoral Bill: Pro-Buhari senators clash with anti-Buhari senators over plot to override Buhari

Federal lawmakers are considering overriding President Muhammadu Buhari’s rejection of  Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018.

Mario Reporta  understands that pro-Buhari lawmakers in the National Assembly have vowed to frustrate such move as a battle line appears to have been drawn.

The plot was said to have been mooted after some of the anti-Buhari legislators got wind of the President’s decision on Thursday.

A former Senate Leader Ali Ndume and a supporter of the president believes those plotting to override Buhari cannot muster the two-thirds majority to carry out their threat.

He alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is behind the plot and will fail.

According to The Nation, some pro and anti-Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018 held separate meetings in Abuja on Friday and Saturday on the way forward.

While those in PDP opted to override the President’s veto, those in APC are backing Buhari because the bill might ‘distort’ preparations for the 2019 poll.

It was reported that some members of the National Assembly, especially those from the North are angry that the opposition is politicizing the bill.

A ranking Senator said: “We have resolved to override the President’s assent because his reasons are really untenable. No one is out to derail the 2019 polls. Instead, the bill contains some amendments that will ensure a free and fair process.

“Although we had anticipated it, we got to know of the decline by the President on Thursday. The President cannot have his cake and eat it this time around.”

A second term member of the House of Representatives, who attended a separate stock-taking session in Asokoro District, said: “Some of us are backing the President because certain provisions are difficult to implement due to time constraint.

“For instance, Section 44 of the bill states that parties must be invited to inspect their identities and show whether they approve or otherwise of how they are represented on electoral materials.

“This amounts to interference in INEC’s work. Why should parties be privy to how ballot paper is designed?

“Having awarded the contract for ballot papers, the National Assembly cannot draw back the electoral commission.”

Also The Nation reported that a Senator from North-Central admitted that Senators and Representatives have been holding consultations along what he described as ‘our fault lines.’ “The truth is that the nation needs more time to adopt the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018. We have met and our position is that the bill should take effect after the 2019 poll.”

A member of the House of Representatives from Sokoto State said: “I do not see those in support of the bill getting two-thirds to override the President’s veto.” A former Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume told our correspondent it is impossible for those anti-Buhari Senators and Representatives to secure two-thirds to override the veto on Electoral Bill.

Ndume said: “The President has his reasons but there is Article 2 of ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance that prohibits passing of a law within a period shorter than six months to the election.

“The President has the right to withhold his assent. I am standing with Mr. President on his decision.

“The threat by PDP that they would override Mr. President is just their usual dream because they don’t have the number and they will not have the number.”

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