Again, the Nigerian Senate stated that its decision to review Electoral Act, which would substitute sequence of election timetable starting from next year, was not aimed at President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to APC Niger North Senator Sabi Aliyu Abdullahi, his colleagues who think so have a right to form their opinion.
Responding to the walkout by some Senators throughout voting on the Act, Sabi said it was all part of democracy.
This is what he told reporters:
“That is their view. I have never been part of anybody sitting down to say that we should do this because we are targeting the President. So, I don’t know what they are talking about. Maybe they have information that I don’t have but I don’t think it is about that because basically for us in the Senate, we passed our version of the Electoral Act Amendment a year ago and we wanted the House of Representatives to concur, they said no because they also had their own in the works. So in circumstances like that, we had to wait for them to finish. When they finished, one of the major differences was the sequence of the election. Like I said, fortunately, or unfortunately, whichever way you look at it, by our legislative procedure, the moment we come together, there is concurrence or conference, which are two different things. Concurrence means they don’t have a similar bill with us but they have done so much legislative work and we are bound by legislative reciprocity to accept that our colleagues at the other side have done a thorough job and we should accept it except if we see one or two things then we may decide to say no. So, we have a way of harmonizing that and we concur with those minor amendments. But in this case, they passed their own bill, and we passed our own. The next thing is to have a joint conference committee chaired by a Senator and this was what happened.
“By our rule, where they have proposed a clause, which is not in our own or we propose a clause, which they do not have, we cannot talk about a merger or try to marry the two, we have to talk about adoption. If you look at the report that is exactly what happened. Naturally, I think this was not part of what we discussed in the Senate but by procedure, we harmonized two bills in a joint sitting. I thinking that some of the people making those complaints, perhaps, do not have deep knowledge of the procedure.”
However, Sabi assured that the Senate would get over the seeming division over the after:
“Absolutely. There is nothing difficult that politicians cannot sit together and talk over. They are saying they have 59 members. I don’t know about that and I think the issue, unfortunately, is not about having members and I wouldn’t want us to start blackmailing each other. What is important for me is I am a member of APC irrespective of the crisis. Have you seen any member of the APC coming out to tell you that I don’t like Mr. President? No. So, I wouldn’t want to go into anything that will aggravate our condition. I would rather want to toe the line of resolution of our little internal crisis and I believe a lot of talks and engagements are ongoing among our leaders at various levels and I have every conviction that we shall get over this storm.”