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Senate rejects Buhari’s amendment to Electoral Act

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SENATE, yesterday, refused to pass the bill seeking to amend the Electoral Act, 2022.

The bill titled,  A Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act 2022 and for related matters, 2022, is being sponsored by President Muhammdu Buhari.

Although it scaled first reading on Tuesday, despite an order of a Federal High Court, Abuja, that barred the Senate from considering it, an overwhelming majority of senators rejected it and effectively stopped its second reading and passage.

The move to reject the bill was signaled by a call from Senator Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central) for it to be stepped down after Senate leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, moved a motion for the bill to be read a second time.

Aliero, who came under a point of order, drew the attention of his colleagues to the provision of Rule 52(5) of Senate Standing Order, advising the upper chamber to step down consideration of the bill pending the vacation of an order made by Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday.

According to Aliero, going ahead with the amendment of the act was in clear conflict with the sub judice rule in law which prevents the legislature from deliberating or considering any matter already before a court of competent jurisdiction.

“Going ahead to consider the bill obviously will mean that we are disrespecting that order, and this is an institution of the Senate – the symbol of Nigeria’s lawmaking body. We should not be seen to be disobeying the court order. No matter how bad that court order is, we should respect it. So, I’m of the opinion that we should stop considering this bill pending the time the court set aside that order, and I think I’m speaking the opinion of my colleagues here,” Aliero said.

But Senate President Ahmad Lawan insisted that the move by the upper chamber to amend the Electoral Act was in line with exercising its constitutional duties and following due process, before senators voted overwhelmingly against the bill to stop it from being read a second time.

It will be recalled that a court ruling delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, on an ex-parte application by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), barred President Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney-General of the Federation and the Senate President from tampering with the newly amended Electoral Act 2022.

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