24.3 C

Electoral bill: Senate fails to override Buhari, shelves action till January



3mins read

THE NIGERIAN Senate, on December 22, failed to proceed with plans to move a motion to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021.

Following Buhari’s refusal to assent to the bill, members of the Nigerian upper legislative chamber had initiated moves to override the president’s veto by passing the proposed legislation with a two-thirds majority vote.

The Nigerian constitution stipulates that the National Assembly can pass a bill rejected by the president with two-thirds majority vote in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

A senator, George Sekibo (People’s Democratic Party/Rivers East) disclosed on Channels Television on December 21 that 73 senators had appended signatures to support a motion to override Buhari’s veto on the electoral bill.

There are 109 senators in the Senate and going by Sekibo’s disclosure, more than two-thirds of members of the upper legislative chamber were ready to override Buhari.

There were expectations that the senators would make good the threat when they reconvened on December 22, but the matter ended in an anti-climax – the lawmakers failed to proceed with the plan.

The planned motion to override Buhari’s veto was not moved.

- Advertisement -

Rather, the Senate went into a closed session which lasted about 40 minutes.

At the end of the closed session, Senate President Ahmed Lawan announced that the lawmakers decided to step down action on the electoral bill until January 2022.

The Senate will consult the House of Representatives on the way forward concerning the bill when both chambers resume from the Yuletide recess in January.

Lawan said, “The Senate discussed the way forward on how to respond to the letter from Mr. President on the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill.

“The Senate consequently resolved to consult with the House of Representatives in January when the two chambers will be in full session.”

Already, the House of Representatives, which proceeded on recess on December 21, had resolved to reopen discussions on the electoral bill in January.

The Senate president equally disclosed that the senators, at the closed session, also agreed to consult with their constituents concerning the electoral bill.

- Advertisement -

Lawan observed that the constituents should have a say in the matter.

* NASS fails to heed calls to override Buhari

The failure of the Senate to move a motion to override Buhari’s veto meant that the National Assembly failed to heed calls from Nigerians urging the lawmakers to override Buhari if he refused to assent to the electoral bill.

The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, a coalition of over 70 organisations working on credible and transparent elections in the country, had urged the National Assembly to override Buhari by passing the electoral bill with two-thirds majority vote.

“We urge the National Assembly, in the interest of Nigerians, to veto the president should he refuse to assent to the bill. The National Assembly has the power and they should use it this time around,” the CSOs coalition said in a statement jointly signed by its convener, Ene Obi, and co-conveners, Asma’u Joda and James Ugochukwu.

However, there were also doubts over the ability and willingness of the National Assembly to override Buhari on the electoral bill.

Although the lawmakers are believed to be eager for the introduction of the provision for compulsory adoption of direct primaries in the electoral act as a means of cutting down the immense influence wielded by governors in the emergence of political party candidates, Buhari’s party – the All Progressives Congress (APC)- has a majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

- Advertisement -

The APC as a political party was opposed to the provision for compulsory adoption of direct primaries – the clause identified by Buhari as the reason he refused to assent to the bill.

It was highly unlikely that APC members in the National Assembly would be willing to embarrass Buhari by moving a motion to override the president’s veto on the electoral bill.

While Buhari delayed action after the bill was transmitted to him by the National Assembly, Senate spokesman Ajibola Basiru had said the lawmakers would not go to war with the president over the amendment bill.

Some prominent politicians, including Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and a former Kano State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, had dismissed chances of the National Assembly overriding Buhari.

Wike, who alleged that the clause that provided for compulsory adoption of direct primaries was included in the amendment bill to give the APC an excuse to stop electronic transmission of election results, had insisted that the National Assembly would not heed calls by Nigerians to override the president by passing the electoral bill with two-thirds majority.

Wike said, “Unfortunately, you don’t have a National Assembly that has what it takes, that will stand for the people, that will say ‘look we were elected by the people and we want to give the people the best.’ Nobody in the National Assembly, not even the leadership, can have what it takes to say ‘Mr. President for the interest of Nigerians, we are going to veto your refusal.'”

Kwankwaso, on his part, said the National Assembly had become an extension of the executive arm of government, and as a result, lacked the will to override Buhari’s veto.

Support the ICIR

We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.


If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation



  1. If it about borrowing Buhari will override them they will the loan easily bunches of cows, idiot Senates, all your agenda will fail come 2023. Lawas cow can not remain there forever there were people there before him and he will be the last stupid Senates president as the country is about to expire and splitting. Yoruba Nation now now


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Support the ICIR

We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.



EFCC finally arrests Okorocha after laying siege to his residence

AFTER hours of laying siege to his Abuja residence, the Economic and Financial Crimes...

Court stops Oluomo, others from collecting levies

A Federal High Court in Lagos has stopped the former chairman of the National...

Ghebreyesus overcomes criticisms over Ebola, COVID-19, re-elected as WHO DG

THE World Health Assembly has re-elected Tedros Ghebreyesus as the Director-General of the World...

Ukraine, other conflicts push number of displaced persons above 100 million for first time

THE number of people forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights violations and persecution...

Inflation: Nollywood producer Aremu Afolayan slams Osinbajo

NOLLYWOOD actor and movie producer Aremu Afolayan has lamented the fragile state of Nigeria's...

Most Read


Subscribe to our newsletter