As debate over the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill lingers, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, has described the process of overriding the President’s veto as difficult.
He, however, said the decision on whether or not to override the President would be decided by the whole parliamentarians.
He spoke in Lagos at the commissioning of various projects in his Surulere l constituency.
The projects commissioned by the Speaker included the Obele mini stadium; Dosunmu road; Adedoyin; Ojikutu; Ishola road by Randle, Rasaq Balogun mini stadium, among others.
Speaking with journalists after the commissioning of the Rasaq Balogun mini stadium, Gbajabiamila said after recess, the House would determine if the reasons given by the President for declining assent to the Bill were convincing.
Gbajabiamila also recalled that he initiated the amendment Bill especially the introduction of direct primaries to deepen participatory democracy.
He said, “There’s a process and I believe the President did it with all good intentions and advice that he got, he weighed everything carefully, he listens to people who he has employed to advise him and I guess they advised him against the amendment.”
“So there’s a process like I said and we would run back to the House to determine if those reasons sit down well with the National Assembly and which case we would at that point consider removing that Clause and passing the bill, but then it’s not my decision to make, it’s the decision of the whole National Assembly, if they decide the reason is not good enough then there is a process which is described in the constitution.
“I can’t read the minds of the National Assembly. We need two-thirds, veto is not something you easily override, if that is done we will take away the clause and pass the Bill so Nigerians can enjoy a credible electoral process they deserve.”
Speaking on the recent increment in police salaries, the Speaker commended the President for the gesture and noted this was not captured in the 2022 budget because the approval came when the budget process was already concluded.
“I give kudos to the President for increasing the budget of the police. It’s been a long time coming and well deserved for the policemen, they are out there doing everything they can to keep us safe, there will be no money that will be too much for policemen, but when that decision was made we had gotten into the tail end of the budget, so I believe a supplementary budget will accommodate that.”
He said the various projects he commissioned, especially the two mini stadiums would have a lot of impact on the people of his constituency.
According to him, providing “real dividends of democracy” has defined his activities in the lower chamber of the National Assembly.
“To me this is the real dividend of democracy, this is a difference maker for the youths especially, sports is a unifier, it is what makes people happy, it replenishes your soul and wellbeing, both physical and mental, when I was campaigning I saw this place and promised them to do what I can to transform it and that’s what we have done, the roads and different projects that we have commissioned today we will continue to do more, it’s never enough,” he said. (Daily Trust)