OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives on Tuesday, failed to consider a motion seeking to override President Muhammadu Buhari on his refusal to assent to the amended Electoral Act 2022.
Deputy Speaker of the House, Idris Wase, who presided over the plenary session asked Ben Igbakpa, (Delta, PDP) to withdraw the motion because he didn’t “follow the normal procedure.”
Igbakpa last Wednesday, had raised a Constitutional point of order asking the Green Chamber to veto the President over his reluctance to sign the amended bill, but the Speaker of the House told him to reintroduce his point of order through an appropriate motion.

READ ALSO: Section 84 (8): President Buhari and the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill

The Delta lawmaker asked his colleagues to “invoke Section 58(5) of the Section the 1999 constitution” to pass the bill. The aforementioned section empowers the National Assembly — with two-third majority votes— to veto the president if he declines assent to a bill.
“The actions or inactions of the president to perform his constitutional duty is an affront to Section 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 which empowers the National Assembly to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the federation or any part thereof.
The continued inaction of the president in either assenting or vetoing the bill has left a lacuna in Nigeria’s constitutional democracy which portends danger to the 2023 electoral process and other subsequent staggered elections of some states thus, leaving the Congress of Political Parties in the hands of Ad-hoc delegates to the detriment of statutory delegates.
A prompt action by the honourable house to cure the patent constitutional lacuna is imperative by invoking Section 58 (5) of the constitution which states that where the President withholds his assent and the bill is again passed by each house by a two-thirds majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required,” he said.
Shortly after presenting his motion, Wase said Igbakpa made a procedural error and that the House can’t override the president through a motion.
“You don’t come with a motion to override a bill. What you are supposed to do is to ask of the rules.
“If you are interested, write to the Speaker seeking for that to happen, then we go through the normal procedure as enshrined in our standing order. We wish to kindly beg you to step down your motion because that is not the right procedure. Liaise with the chairman of house rules to do the needful,” Wase said.
In his response to the presiding officer’s observation, Igbakpa said he was advised by Gbajabiamila to bring a motion to that effect.
“On Wednesday, I came under a constitutional order and the Speaker directed what I am doing. It means there is a miscommunication somewhere,” he said.
“I am not doing it because it is against anybody. It is a constitutional order. It is a rule of law and I think it is why we are here. If you say, I would step it down right away so we can follow up,” Igbakpa added.
Wase was however, not having it, as he insisted “my guide is that the procedure followed is not the right procedure.
For you to override on any bill, you need two-thirds of members. Not members sitting but two-thirds of members of the National Assembly. This is why I am guiding you and guiding the House Motion is stepped down by the leave of the House.”
He thereafter stepped down the motion after which the Deputy Speaker hit the gavel.
The current Electoral Act was amended by both chambers of the National Assembly, and was resent by the lawmakers after the amendment of Section 84 (8) for the President’s assent. The section was to allow statutory delegates to participate in political parties’ primaries.
On May 11 2022, the House of Representatives while on recess, convened an emergency session to amend and pass Section 84(8) of the Electoral Amendment Act 2022; to allow statutory delegates participate in political parties’ congresses and conventions.

Following a clause-by-clause consideration, the House thereafter amended the Bill sponsored by the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Abubakar Fulata (APC, Jigawa).
The refusal by the President to assent to, or reject the bill prevented the lawmakers, Governors, Ministers, the President and Vice President among others; could not participate as statutory delegates in their respective party primaries.


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