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2019 Polls: Senate begins move to override Buhari’s veto

The Senate yesterday began the process of overriding President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto to the amendment of the Electoral Act, 2018.

The upper chamber reintroduced the “Electoral Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill, 2018”.

The Bill, tagged: SB 645, and sponsored by Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Suleiman Nazif, scaled first reading seamlessly.

It was on a day the Senate mandated its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate alleged attempts to compromise senators and House of Reps members to abandon plans to override the President’s veto.

The Nation reports that a number of senators in support of the Bill insisted that it was wrong for Buhari to withhold assent to the proposed legislation.

Others opposed to the Bill saw it as targeted at the President and vowed to scuttle it.

Insiders said the lawmakers will pass the Bill once again as it was done before the President withheld his assent.

The most contentious section of the Bill is the reordering of election sequence, which placed the presidential election last in the order of election in the country.

The reintroduction of the Bill is coming at a time allegations of bribery to scuttle the override of the veto were making the rounds.

President Buhari withheld assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, 2018, on the excuse that his assent would infringe on the constitutional powers of INEC.

The President, in a letter to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said giving assent to the Bill would make the National Assembly appear as if it was legislating for the states on local government-related issues.

It was not known how far the Senate can go in its determination to override the President’s veto to the Bill.

The resolution to investigate the allegation followed a point of order by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi on the issue.

Nwaoboshi (Delta North) told his colleagues that the media was awash on Monday about alleged move to bribe senators and House members to scuttle the plan to override the President’s veto on the Electoral Act.

It was alleged that $50,000 had been earmarked for senators and members of the House of Representatives are expected to get $30,000 each to stop the override plot.

The upper chamber asked the committee to report back its finding within two weeks for a decisive action to be taken.

Nwaoboshi told his colleagues that the media report infringes on his right as a senator since he did not receive any money from anybody.

He prayed the Senate to get to the root of the matter with a view to unearthing the faces behind the bribery allegation.

Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, who supported the motion, noted that he has been inundated with phone calls from his constituents over the allegation.

Senate President Bukola Saraki agreed that the allegations should be investigated.

Saraki described the allegation as a big dent on the image of the National Assembly.

Nwaoboshi was asked to lay a copy of one of the publications.