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Friday, March 16, 2018

Buhari Meets Saraki, Dogara In Aso Rock, Seeks Peace Over Order of Elections, 2018 Budget

A major trouble-shooting effort was launched last night to halt the imminent showdown between the Executive and the Legislature.

On the agenda were:

  • the controversial election sequence reordering, which is a subject of litigation;
  • the 2018 budget, which is stuck at the National Assembly— four months after it was presented by President Muhammadu Buhari; and
  • the worrisome security situation.

The meeting, which started around 9p.m, was attended by Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Reps Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Lasun Yusuf, Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan and House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, among others.

After the meeting, Saraki told reporters that the frosty relationship between the Executive and the Legislature was discussed. The budget was also discussed, he said.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha confirmed that the threat by the lawmakers to override the President’s veto on the Electoral Act amendment was discussed. He gave no details.

On the budget, the lawmakers were said to have complained that some ministers were yet to defend their inputs.

The Nation reports that Buhari was said to have directed the SGF to write the ministers, directing them to defend their budgets.

Earlier in the day, the Senate during plenary decided to write to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to protest the ruling stopping the lawmakers from overriding the President’s veto on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

It was also learnt that based on legal advice, which suggested that the President’s reasons for declining assent was not watertight, the lawmakers had decided to override the veto next week.

The controversy trailing the rejection of the Electoral Act 2018 amendment by President Muhammadu Buhari may be far from over.

The National Assembly yesterday listed “flaws” in the constitutional provision relied upon by President Buhari to withhold assent to the Bill.

The leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly is said to have met Wednesday night to consider submissions from the legal department of the Assembly.

It was gathered that the legal advice dismissed the constitutional provisions cited by President Buhari as basis for his action “as baseless and of no effect to form the basis of withholding assent to the Bill”.

The Senate and House Reps leadership “accepted the submissions received from the legal department,” a source said.

The implication of the acceptance of the submissions of the legal department, the source said, “is that the two chambers may go ahead to override the veto of Mr. President to the Bill.”

The source hinted that “the two chambers appeared to be poised to do battle with Mr. President by exercising their power to override the president on any issue they feel strongly about”.

He added that the amendment of the Electoral Act which altered the sequence of elections, seems to be one of the issues the lawmakers are convinced was done “in the best interest of the country”.
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