12 December 2018

Nigeria: ... to Decide On Rejected Electoral Act Today

The House of Representatives will today likely debate on the Electoral Act (amendment) bill, according to indications that emerged from Tuesday's sitting of the lawmakers.

This is just as Speaker Yakubu Dogara read a letter from the State House communicating President Muhammadu Buhari's decision to reject the bill, for the third time.

Aliyu Madaki (PDP, Kano) had tried to initiate a debate on the bill when he drew the attention of the lawmakers to Buhari's alleged non-commitment to credible polls in 2019, as exemplified by his veto of the Electoral Act.

"Mr. Speaker, the President (Buhari's) rejection of the amended Electoral Act shows his hidden intents for the 2019 general elections. It is important to draw the attention of the House to this development," Madaki said.

The move was, however, thwarted by a point of order raised by the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos) to the fact that it was unbecoming of lawmakers to debate a communication from the president.

He said there was no precedent of the House having ever debated a letter written to it by a sitting president, more so as the matter was not captured in the Order Paper.

"We have never debated a letter from Mr. President. Letters have been written by many presidents to this House and none of them has ever been debated by lawmakers. If you want to debate it, it has to be in the Order Paper," he stated.

At this point, Speaker Yakubu Dogara intervened and urged the lawmakers to let the issue rest because of a provision in the House Standing Order regarding a communication from a sitting president, as well as issues not captured in the Order Paper.

A chant of "tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow" rented the air as the lawmakers postponed debate on the vetoed bill.


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