Following the rejection of the amended Electoral Act for the fourth time by President Muhammadu Buhari, a member of the House of Representatives, Johnson Agbonayinma (APC, Edo), says “it is time for lawmakers to lobby and negotiate with the executive on the way out of the logjam in the interest of Nigerians.”
Agbonayinma told Daily Trust via phone chat Saturday morning that rather than attacking Buhari or playing partisan politics with the electoral law, the lawmakers should look at the document holistically, in the light of prevailing circumstances.
“That is the practice in Western democracies. Sometimes, you lobby and negotiate your way out. Mr. President has his reasons for refusing to assent to the bill all the while. We (lawmakers) should reason with him (Buhari) to see how the bill can scale through.
“We should sit down and look at the bill holistically. This is not time to throw tantrums or play partisan politics. It’s time to lobby and negotiate with the executive.
“Yes, the lawmakers can override the decision with a two-third majority but castigating Buhari is not the best at this point in time. This is about the interest of Nigerians,” Agbonayinma told Daily Trust on phone.
Before then, the President had withheld his assent to the bill three times, finally returning it to the legislature on August 30, 2018.
Rejecting the bill, Buhari had faulted 11 sections, all of which the National Assembly claimed to have addressed in the latest version just rejected.
Part of the new amendments to the bill include the use of the card reader as the sole means of accreditation of voters, as well as “provisions to improve on the country ’s electoral process ahead of the 2019 general elections.”
Shortly after passing the bill at the House of Representatives on October 24, the Chairman, House Committee on Electoral and Political Party Matters, Aisha Dukku, (APC, Gombe) had boasted that all the areas queried by Buhari had been amended appropriately.
“All the issues raised by Mr. President have been captured and addressed. Both the Senate and the House worked on these amendments and all the issues have been addressed,” Dukku said.