The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase, on Tuesday, asked a member of the House to step down a motion to override President Muhammadu Buhari on an amendment to the Electoral Act to allow statutory delegates to vote at party conventions and congresses.
Ben Igbakpa (PDP, Delta) had last week moved a motion for the House to invoke Section 58(5) of the Constitution to override the president on Section 84(8) of the electoral act.
The lawmaker raised a constitutional point of order that the House should commence the process of overriding the president on the bill.
However, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila directed Mr Igbakpa to bring a substantive motion on another legislative day.
Upon moving the motion on Tuesday, Mr Wase, who presided over the session, said the Delta lawmaker erred on procedure. He said the lawmaker could not override the president through a motion.
“You don’t come with a motion to override a bill. What you are supposed to do is to ask the rules. if you are interested write to the speaker seeking for that to happen, then we go through the normal procedure as enshrined in our standing order.
“We wish to kindly beg you to step down your motion because that is not the right procedure and liaise with Chairman of House Rules to do the needful,” Mr Wase said.
Responding, Mr Igbakpa reminded the House that it was the Speaker that directed him to come through a motion.
“On Thursday I came under a constitutional order and the Speaker directed what I am doing. It means there is a miscommunication somewhere.
” I am not doing it because it is against anybody. It is a constitutional order. It is a rule of law and I think it is why we are here. If you say so I would step it down right away so we can follow up,” he said.
Despite the explanation, the deputy speaker remained adamant. He asked the mover of the motion to step it down.
“My guide is that the procedure followed is not the right procedure.
“For you to override on any bill, you need two-thirds of members, not members sitting but two-thirds of members of the National Assembly. This is why I am guiding you and guiding the House. Motion is stepped down by the leave of the House,” the deputy speaker ruled.
Consequently, the motion was stepped down by the leave of the House.
The National Assembly amended the Electoral Act. However, the amendments excluded statutory delegates from voting at party conventions and congresses. The Act only allows the ad hoc delegates to do so.
On May 12, an amendment to allow the statutory delegates was passed and transmitted to the president for assent but he has yet to transmit a response to the National Assembly.
Statutory delegates include ward councillors, local government chairmen and their deputies, governors and their deputies, and president and vice president.
Others are senators and members of the House of Representatives and state assemblies, and chairmen of the parties in the 774 local government areas.
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