The Nigerian Senate has resolved to consult the House of Representatives on how to respond to the letter of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, made the disclosure on Wednesday after the upper chamber rose from a closed session to deliberate on the president’s decision to withhold assent to the electoral bill passed by the National Assembly.
Recall that in the letter dated December 13, Buhari said that he withheld assent to the electoral bill because its passage into law would have serious adverse legal, financial, economic and security consequences on the country, particularly in view of Nigeria’s peculiarities.
He added that there will be a negative impact on the rights of citizens to participate in the government as constitutionally ensured, if the bill was signed into law, adding that his decision was based on advice from relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government after a thorough review.
In a statement signed by Lawan's Special Assistant (Press) - Dr. Ezrel Tabiowo on Wednesday, the Senate President noted in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the upper chamber can't "exclusively take any action on such matters in the absence of the House of Representatives that has embarked on recess."
Lawan is however confident that both chambers will reach "a joint position after due consultation with Nigerians to determine the appropriate line of action" after the Christmas break in January.
Speaking on what transpired in the closed session, Lawan said, “The Senate in a closed session deliberated on matters relevant to the workings of the Senate in particular and, the National Assembly in general.
“The Senate also in the closed session discussed how to respond to the letter from Mr. President on the electoral bill amendment.
“The Senate consequently resolved to consult with the House of Representatives in January when both the Senate and House will be in session.
“Presently, the House of Reps has gone or recess and like we all know, the constitutional provision is for the Senate and House of Representatives to jointly take the appropriate action.
“The Senate also resolved to consult with our constituents during our recess in January.
“The Senate believes that our constituents have a role to play as the major stakeholders in the laws that we make in the National Assembly.”