Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, have promised a unanimous and appropriate response from the National Assembly to President Muhammadu Buhari’s rejection of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill which proposed re-ordering of elections in the country.
Yusuph Olaniyonu and Turaki Hassan, Special Advisers (Media) to Senate President and Speaker, in a statement on Saturday stated that the two leaders and chambers were not on collision course over the matter, stressing that they “are in agreement on what to do, how to do it, when to do it and why it must be done.”
The leaders of the two chambers dismissed as unfounded and misleading insinuations that they were in disagreement over the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2018 which Buhari declined to assent to partly on the ground that it threatens the independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to “organise, undertake and supervise elections.”
The Senate and the House of Representatives want election into the National Assembly conducted first with the presidential poll coming last.
The statement reads, “The Senate President and the Speaker, as heads of the two chambers of the National Assembly and representing the views of their colleagues, will want everybody to know that they are on the same page on what is the appropriate reaction to the President’s withholding of assent on the Electoral Act amendment bill.
“There is no disagreement between the two chambers as well as their presiding officers. The leadership of the two chambers constantly hold discussions and are in agreement on what to do, how to do it, when to do it and why it must be done.
“The issue at stake is not personal. It is about deepening democracy. It is about improving our democracy and the National Assembly is on firm constitutional and legal grounds to amend the law as well as take decisions in the manner they have been responding.
“We see that story and the insinuations contained in it as mere distraction and unnecessary misrepresentation aimed at creating division in the Federal Legislature. The Senate President, Speaker and their colleagues urge members of the public to discountenance the report.”