Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila yesterday disagreed with his deputy, Ahmed Idris Wase, over procedure to be followed in overriding the president’s veto on section 84(8) of the Electoral Act 2022.
The Green Chamber had on Tuesday stepped-down the seeking to override President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to assent to the Clause 84(8) of the Electoral Act (Amendment) bill, 2022, which provides for statutory delegates to participate in political parties’ primaries.
The member representing Ethiope Federal Constituency of Delta State, Ben Igbakpa, at the plenary last week raised a constitutional point of order, citing section 58 (8) of the 1999 constitution which empowered the national assembly to enact laws and also override the President with two third majority of the members’ vote. But Gbajabiamila urged Igbakpa to formally present a motion in that regard.
When Igbakpa presented the matter through a motion on Tuesday, deputy speaker of the House Ahmed Idris Wase who presided over the plenary refused to seek a seconder to the motion as he noted that the seeking to override the president’s veto through a motion is procedurally wrong.
“I am not asking you stop the process, you are exercising your right as a legislator, my guidance is that this is it the right procedure. You should formally write to the speaker and also serve two-thirds majority of the members not just the members at the plenary. It is not necessary to call for a seconder,” Wase said.
Gbajabimila while commenting on Wase’s ruling at the plenary yesterday, said according to Order 12 Rule 20 of the House Rules, the lawmaker could present the matter as a substantive motion to be recommitted or go by way of reintroducing the Bill again for first, second readings and third reading
He said, “There is no contradiction or difference between what the Deputy Speaker said yesterday and what I pronounced on Wednesday. They are one and the same. The combined reading and the Constitution and our rules. Hon. Igbakpa, I indeed said that you should come with a substantive motion. Can you read Order 12 Rule 20. This is a matter that has not been touched upon except for one of two instances, so it is important to give it clarity. I noticed that it was a subject of debate on Channels TV this morning.
“If you read that with the rest of our provisions in the rules and our constitution. You have to bring the bill back for consideration, but how do you bring the bill back? You have to bring the bill back by way of substantive motion. And you now recommitting it to perhaps the committee of the whole or in the alternative you go through the whole process again, first, second readings or you commit to committee of the whole for consideration. You still have to bring a substantive motion to bring the Bill back, not just by saying let us override. The Bill has to be brought back to the House. There is judicial interpretation in the National Assembly vs Attorney General.”
Igbakpa who was among the lawmakers that lost out in the just concluded primaries noted that there’s no need for the House to fear anyone.
The motion was meant to invoke Section 58(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) with respect to the Bill for an Act to Amend the Electoral Act, 2022 i.e Amendment of Section 84(8) thereof to allow Statutory delegates to participate in Political Parties Congress and convention.
It also intended to communicate the position of the House of Representatives to the Senate for concurrence.