OrderPaperToday – A mild row ensued at Tuesday’s plenary of the House of Representatives following President Muhammadu Buhari’s decline of assent to the 2018 Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
President Buhari, in a letter to the National Assembly, which was read on the floor, had cited an ECOWAS protocol among other reasons why he refused assent.
But the reasons did not go down well with some members after the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara finished reading the letter on the floor as they were seen shouting point of order thereby leading to a rowdy session.
First among these members who faulted the president’s letter was a former member of the ruling All Progressives Congress and now of the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Mr. Ali Madaki, Kano State.
Mr. Madaki condemned the president’ s action and called for a free, fair and credible election come next year.
According to the lawmaker, “you just read an important message, what we want is free and fair election.”
He said the refusal of the President to sign the electoral bill was an indication and intention of the ruling party to rig the forthcoming general elections.
But the House leader, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos) opposed Mr. Madaki’s position and explained that never has the House debated any letter from the President.
His words: “We have never by precedent debated a letter which is by way of information, if we need to debate it, we will list and debate it.”
He noted that several letters have been written and advised that even if the House wants it debated, it must be done according to the rules, law and tradition of the House.
The Presiding officer, Speaker Dogara however ruled on the matter and urged members to remain calm.
He explained that there were provisions both in the Constitution and the House Rules on how to deal with such matters.