Lawmakers are threatening to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on the Electoral Act amendment, especially the reordering of the sequence of the 2019 elections.
In a joint statement at the weekend, Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara vowed to be “on the same page on what is an appropriate reaction to the President’s withholding of assent on the Electoral Act amendment bill”.
It was learnt that party Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun, Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) Chairman Abdulaziz Yari and other leaders of the party had intervened through meetings with Presidency officials and National Assembly’s leaders.
The party is said to be seeking a meeting point for the two arms of government to resolve the feud.
Other senior members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) have also met with the leaders of the National Assembly “to seek their understanding”.
“Yari has held four sessions with the Senate President. This is to underscore the fact that the party leadership and other national leaders of the party have intervened,” a party leader said.
A ranking senator, who pleaded to be anonymous, said: “The party leaders and national leaders have been going forth and back to bring the two arms to the same table for talks. All the shuttles by these leaders actually laid the foundation for Thursday’s session with the President by the National Assembly leaders.
“Apart from the budget and security matters, the President skipped many contentious issues, including the disagreement over amendments to the Electoral Act, especially Order of 2019 Elections.
“So far, the Assembly leaders have made some demands, but the President is yet to give anything in return. No appreciable concessions.
“Democracy is about giving and take, but we are yet to get concrete commitments from the President, apart from the directive to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to submit budget details.”
It was learnt that a lot of behind-the-scene shuttles took place between the National Assembly and party leaders and governors in the last one week.
National Publicity Secretary of APC Mr Bolaji Abdullahi confirmed the intervention of the party’s leadership in the disagreement. He said the party was hopeful of the resolution of the face-off.
“The party is doing its best to ensure that there is a meeting point between the two arms. We are working on how to resolve the issues in question.
“While the Legislature has a constitutional duty to make laws, the Executive also has the right to express its feelings on any law. All we need to do is to facilitate mutual dialogue and resolution of areas of disagreement.”
Some of the issues between the Presidency and the National Assembly are:
- refusal by the National Assembly to keep to an agreement on early passage of 2018 Budget;
- non-submission of 2018 budget details by some MDAs;
- non-clearance of more than 50 nominees presented to the Assembly by the Executive;
- the alleged deliberate frustration of the administration of the President by the lawmakers;
- stoppage of alleged hounding of Saraki and other National Assembly members by anti-graft agencies ;
- compliance with the resolutions/ decisions/ summons of the National Assembly by the Executive; and
- dropping of the nomination of Mr Ibrahim Magu for Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman.