The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila on Tuesday disclosed a possible overrule of the opposition of President Muhammadu Buhari to the enactment of the direct primaries system within the Electoral Amendment Act.
Gbajabamila made this disclosure during his statement at plenary — the final one of 2021 — on Tuesday, in Abuja.
Ripples Nigeria had earlier reported that President Muhammadu Buhari sent a letter to the National Assembly explaining his reasons for refusing to assent to the Amendment Bill, citing insecurity amongst other issues.
Nonetheless, Gbajabiamila stated that the NASS had worked assiduously to ensure the passage of the Bill “despite the differences in opinions” and “and it falls to parliament to decide the best way forward.”
The statement read, “This year, despite the differences of opinions, all of us in the House of Representatives and indeed, the entire National Assembly, worked to pass the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill. We included in that bill, provisions we hoped will significantly enhance the conduct of our national elections and improve public confidence in our electoral outcomes.
“As it is now, that bill has not received presidential assent, and it falls to parliament to decide the best way forward. When we return in the new year, we will resume our efforts to reform the electoral system in our country. And we will do it together. That is what the Nigerian people expect of us, and we will do our duty for God and our country.
“Whichever way it pans out, we must not throw out the baby with the bathwater and must deliver a credible and enduring electoral system to Nigerians. Every law is a living document and as long as it has breath, it must survive.”
The Speaker also spoke on the efforts of the lawmakers towards ensuring a comprehensive health framework aimed at tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and other diseases while berating critics who engage in politicising the situation.
“Last year, the House of Representatives initiated a long-overdue effort to reform the statutory framework for public health emergency response in our country. At that time, our good faith efforts were willfully mischaracterised by individuals who saw the moment as an opportunity to score cheap political points and earn the passing accolades of the ignorant and misinformed.
“Today, the whole world is grappling with the issues we sought to identify and address then. There are many lessons to be learned from that experience. Most paramount of them all is that public policy is serious business and the welfare of the Nigerian people must never be surrendered on the altar of cheap populism or the pursuit of short-term political advantage,” he said.