The Senate will “expeditiously” look into the issues raised in the Electoral Amendment bill, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has said.
He made the statement in his welcome address to his colleagues at the start of plenary on Tuesday.
The lawmakers, who resumed after a four-week break on Tuesday, held a closed-door meeting for over an hour before commencing plenary proper.
At the end of the executive session, Mr Lawan announced that issues discussed bordered on the workings of the Senate and the National Assembly in general.
All eyes have been on the lawmakers as Nigerians await their decision on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill which was rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari in December.
The president cited insecurity, the cost of conducting direct primaries and infringement on the rights of Nigerians to participate in governance as his reasons for declining assent.
But in a recent interview, he assured that if changes are made to the clause, to include the addition of consensus candidates and indirect primary options to the mode of selecting a candidate for an election, he would sign the bill.
There was, however, no mention of the bill during plenary, save for the Senate President’s speech.
“The Senate postponed discussions on the consideration of the response of Mr President on the Electoral Act 2010 Amendment bill to enable us consult with our counter parts in the House of Representatives and also consult with our constituents.
“Like we all know, the Senate and indeed the National Assembly worked so hard on the Bill. Having consulted, the Senate will expeditiously look into the issue,” he said.
A legislative aide, who asked not to he named for fear of victimisation, told PREMIUM TIMES that the lawmakers will likely address the issues raised by the president and pass it as soon as possible.
Already, the Peoples Democratic Party, its governors and CSOs have asked the National Assembly to quickly pass the bill even if it means overriding the president.
2022 budget implementation
Mr Lawan also assured that the provisions of the 2022 budget will be fully implemented.
To this regard, he said the lawmakers will strategise on effective oversight of the implementation of the 2022 Budget.
“This is going to be the last budget that would be fully implemented for 12 months in the life of the Ninth Senate. We therefore, need to supervise very closely.”
He also noted that funding of the 2022 budget is predicated on significant borrowing.
He said: “Our country is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. We have to construct and provide infrastructure, in all parts of our country because infrastructure is needed for our nation to develop.
“However, we do not generate enough revenues to fund the provision of such infrastructure. Until more revenues are generated, the country has to borrow and also resort to other sources of funding our infrastructural development. But we cannot continue to borrow endlessly.”
The lawmaker also disclosed that the National Assembly committees on Constitution Review will present their report o the Chambers soon.
“The Senate will consider the report and the National Assembly will communicate to the State Houses of Assembly within the first quarter of this year,” Mr Lawan stated.
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