A move by the House of Representatives to override President, Muhammadu Buhari on Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act, 2022, which seeks to provide for statutory delegates at the meetings, congresses and conventions of political parties, has suffered setback.
The Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, had on Wednesday last week, called on members willing to move a motion for the chamber to override Buhari’s veto to do so anytime from last Thursday.
Two members of the Peoples Democratic Party – the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu and Ben Igbakpa – who failed to emerge as candidates in the recently concluded primaries, had protested on the floor of the House on Wednesday, last week.
On Tuesday, Igbakpa moved a motion, titled ‘Need to invoke Section 58(5) of the 1999 Constitution to pass again the Electoral Act, 2022,’ in which he recalled the events leading to the move to override the veto.
The lawmaker prayed the House to “invoke Section 58(5) of the 1999 Constitution, with respect to the bill for an Act to amend the Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act, 2022 thereof to allow statutory delegates to participate in political parties’ congress and convention.”
He prayed the House to “communicate the position of the House of Representatives to the Senate for concurrence.”
However, the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, who presided over the session, faulted the procedure adopted by Igbakpa and stepped down the motion.
He argued that Igbakpa was supposed to have requested the House Committee on Rules and Business to recommit the bill for reconsideration through the Speaker.
Dissatisfied, Igbakpa recalled that he came on a constitutional point of order on Thursday “and Mr Speaker directed exactly what I am doing, so it means there is a miscommunication somewhere.” He, however, noted that he would follow up on the matter “and ensure that this is done.”
Defending his position, the Deputy Speaker said, “Nobody is asking you to stop. Nobody is insinuating it. You are just exercising your fundamental right as a legislator and performing your duty. My guide is only that the procedure followed is not what is expected; that is not the procedure.
“I believe the Speaker would not have asked you to come with a motion because for you to override (veto on) any bill, you need two-third of members – not two-third of members sitting but two-thirds of members of the National Assembly. That is why I am guiding you and the House.”