By Cecilia Ijuo
Senator Abdullahi Gumel (APC-Jigawa) has said that the Senate Caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will resist fresh moves to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto of Electoral Act(Amendment) Bill, 2018.
Gumel, a member of the caucus who made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said the caucus would do everything possible to stop the move.
According to him, in spite of misleading reports that APC is now in the minority, the party is still in the majority and will ensure that those working to override the President’s veto do not succeed.
“We, the APC caucus, are with the President. Even if they want to override him, the APC caucus is in majority. So, they do not have the number.
“One of the concerns of the President about the bill is the provision for transmission of results electronically.
“It is not just picking a telephone and transmitting results. It is through a equipment.
“And it means 150,000 polling booths in the country, transmitting results from the booths to five places, state assembly, collation centre of House of Representatives, collation centre of senate to collation centre of the states to national data bank.
“So, the results from these five places multiply by 150, 000 is enormous.
“INEC is yet to buy the equipment and people are not trained on this transmission and election is two months away.
“So, there is no way INEC will be able to transmit the election electronically, even if the bill is signed into by the President.
“Also, the ECOWAS protocol on elections should not be wished away,” he said.
The lawmaker said reports that some APC lawmakers who lost in their bid to return in 2019 were teaming up with the opposition to override the President’s veto were not true.
He said all APC lawmakers both in the Senate and House of Representatives were still working together and solidly behind Buhari.
“So, the fear that some aggrieved APC lawmakers might work with PDP and other opposition parties to override the President’s veto is nothing for us to lose sleep over.
“Forget about being a candidate or not being a candidate, APC caucus is intact.
“For instance, I am not a candidate for the 2019 election, but I am still an APC Caucus member,” he said.
Gumel said those who held the view that Buhari declined assent to the bill because he was afraid of losing the 2019 election, should look for a better allegation.
He pointed out that the Buhari he knew would not be afraid of losing elections.
.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Buhari had on Dec.6 declined assent to the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018 for the fourth time.
In a letter to the National Assembly, Buhari said he withheld assent principally because passing a new electoral bill deep into the electoral process for the 2019 general elections could create uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process.
The President also listed some drafting errors in the amendment bill.