The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has explained that the motion to override the president on the electoral act was stepped down because it was not properly presented.
Mr Gbajabiamila explained that the motion moved by Ben Igbakpa (PDP, Delta) to override President Muhammadu Buhari on section 84(8) of the Electoral Act was not consistent with the constitution and rules of the House.
Last week, Mr Igbakpa had raised a constitutional point of order on the inaction of the president on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill transmitted by the National Assembly on May 12.
The lawmaker had asked that the House should invoke Section 58(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) to override the president.
He added that the exclusion of statutory delegates from the Act had created a lacuna in it. In his ruling, the Speaker directed Mr Igbakpa to bring a substantive motion to that effect.
However, on Tuesday, the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase (APC, Plateau), while presiding over the plenary session, asked Mr Igbakpa to step down the motion.
In the motion, Mr Igbakpa prayed that the House should “Invoke Section 58(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) with respect to the Bill for an Act to Amend the Electoral Act, 2022 i.e Amendment of Section 84(8) thereof to allow statutory delegates to participate in the congresses and conventions of political parties.
“Communicate the position of the House of Representatives to the Senate for concurrence.”
According to the deputy speaker, the motion was not in order because the bill has to be reconsidered and two-thirds of the members of the House must vote on it.
‘No contradiction between me and deputy speaker’
Speaking on the controversy on the motion, Mr Gbajabiamila said his position and the deputy speaker’s are “one and the same”.
He explained that the motion must re-introduce the bill for consideration, adding that Mr Igbakpa’s motion failed to introduce the bill for members to reconsider.
“You have to bring the bill back for consideration. But how do you bring the bill back? You have to bring the bill back by way of substantive motion. And you now recommitting it to perhaps the committee of the whole or in the alternative you go through the whole process again, first, second readings to third reading.
“You still have to bring a substantive motion to bring the bill back, not just by saying let us override. The bill has to be brought back to the House,” Mr Gbajabiamila said.
Section 58(4 and 5) provides that “Where a bill is presented to the President for assent, he shall within thirty days thereof signify that he assents or that he withholds assent.
“Where the President withholds his assent and the bill is again passed by each House by two-thirds majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required.”
Only once has the National Assembly successfully vetoed the decision of a president on a bill.
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) became law without the assent of the president when the 4th Assembly vetoed then President Olusegun Obasanjo.
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