Senators’ threat to overturn President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto of the Electoral Act Bill 2021 appears to have failed.
The federal MPs backed out of the idea after overnight lobbying by six governors, it was learned yesterday.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan’s ability to manage the matter maturely, according to sources, prompted senators to ‘defer’ concerns concerning the presidential veto until January of next year.
Senator Gabriel Suswam of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cited a legal issue that was thought to be the “clincher” that ended any debate on the veto.
The event was not without drama, however, as several senators who were allegedly behind the signature collecting to overrule the President were notably absent from the plenary.
Others who arrived after the Senate’s Executive Session chose to observe the plenary, where the President of the Senate just communicated the Executive Session’s decision.
When the House reconvenes, the PDP caucus in the House of Representatives has promised to mobilize its members to overrule the President.
Six governors, led by Mallam Mai Mala Buni, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker Committee, persuaded senators overnight to postpone action on their plan, according to reports.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi); Yahaya Bello (Kogi); Gboyega Oyetola (Osun); and Hope Uzodinma (Imo) were among the governors who begged with the senators to be placated (Imo).
The lobbying, which began at 9 p.m. on Tuesday and finished around 5 a.m. on Wednesday, was learned.
A governor who spoke to newsmen on the situation said, “We spent hours to engage senators to sheathe their swords.
“President Buhari is the nation’s leader and the leader of our party. Even if he is wrong, we cannot allow senators or any group to disgrace him.
“In this case, President Buhari was not even wrong. He took a decision in the overall interest of the nation’s fledgling democracy. We felt we owed it a duty to explain the President’s position and ask senators to see key reasons in his position for rejecting the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021.
“We had sufficient engagement till 5 am on Wednesday until we got a firm commitment that all will be well in the Senate yesterday.”
Some senators said that they were still angry when the Lawan called the Executive Session yesterday.
Approximately 98 percent of people in the opposition and 20% to 25% of those in the APC were dissatisfied with the President.
Lawan, on the other hand, showed maturity in persuading his colleagues to stay calm, emphasizing that the situation can only be handled through a legitimate legislative procedure.
“The House of Representatives is already on recess,” Lawan said, “and if we pass any resolution on the veto, the Senate had to wait for the chamber.” By precedents, it is a joint matter for the two chambers. We cannot proceed further.
“We need to have a dialogue as to the way out so that we will not be acting without focus. The two chambers must be on the same page on this issue.
“We also need to consult other stakeholders and our constituents during the recess to have a broader perspective.”