No fewer than 73 senators have indicated interest to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, according to Senator George Sekibo.
Sekibo, who represents Rivers East Senatorial District on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said signatures have been collected from the senators willing to override the president, adding that the signatures cut across party lines.
He made this known in an interview with Channels Television at the close of plenary on Tuesday.
“Why will Mr President say he doesn’t want direct primaries? The country is not his limited liability company. This is a country and this is a chamber. So the Senate ought to override him.
“By the law, we have the power to override him, in Section 58(4) and (5) of the Constitution. So, if the Constitution gives us the power to do so, we will use our powers to do it. We are compiling signatures. We have gotten more than 73 persons prepared to override the veto.
“…Yes, it cuts across party lines,” he said.
The Senate will need at least two-thirds of its 109 members to vote in support of overriding the president’s veto if the matter is put to vote. The 73 senators Sekibo talked about is the exact number that is required, although he did not provide the names of the signatories.
Sekibo had interrupted proceedings on Tuesday during plenary on Tuesday and asked that the Senate proceed into a closed-door session to discuss the president’s veto.
The lawmaker had raised a point of order stating the urgency of the Senate to make a decision on the matter before proceeding on the Christmas holiday.
“It is my opinion that the Senate dissolves into a closed-door session and discuss it so that we can take appropriate decision on it before we go for our Christmas break. So, I submit that the Senate – before we take the budget – dissolves into committee of the whole in closed session to discuss it and take a decision,” he said
However, after the executive session which lasted for over half an hour, the Senate President did not disclose what transpired within. He simply adjourned plenary to Wednesday.
While some lawmakers have agreed to override the president’s veto, it is not clear if the senators will make the move at Wednesday’s plenary or wait till January 2022 when they resume from the new year break.