The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has disclosed that the National Assembly does not need to lobby President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the electoral amendment bill in its current form.
He stated that by transmitting the bill to the president, the National Assembly members already expressed their positions on issues to the president.
Mr Lawan spoke to journalists on Monday after a meeting with Mr Buhari at the State House in Abuja.
Mr Lawan’s tone was different from his counterpart in the House, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, who had visited the president last week. Mr Gbajabiamila had made a case for direct primaries while briefing journalists after his visit. It is believed that Mr Lawan made a similar case during his meeting with the president.
The bill was transmitted to President Buhari on Friday, barely 24 hours after Mr Gbajabiamila’s visit.
The governors of the All Progressives Congres (APC) under the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) also met on Sunday.
The Chairman of the Forum, Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, has been very vocal in his opposition to clause 87 of the bill which mandated direct primaries for political parties.
Mr Lawan described the opposition by governors to direct primaries in the bill as normal. He noted that “the best way forward is for people to engage.”
He stated that National Assembly, governors and the executive are all critical stakeholders on the issue.
“Some governors might have said they don’t like it this way. But that’s normal. So it’s for us to engage and engage,” Mr Lawan said.
Furthermore, Mr Lawan said he also briefed the president on the timeline of the 2022 budget that is before the parliament and the need for better security in the Northwest.
Despite the recent surge in activities of Boko Haram and ISWAP in the North-east, Mr Lawan commended the president for the security activities in the region.
“We believe that we have done far so well in the North-east,” he said.
While he did not disclose the specifics, Mr Lawan said he spoke with the president on crisis raging in some state chapters of the APC and the issues surrounding the national convention.
“We are also very desirous of ensuring that the APC is so stable before the convention, ultimately, because we want our convention to be hitch-free,” he noted.
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“We want every member of this party who comes to attend the convention to do so with a clear mind about whoever becomes the chairman.”
Mr Lawan added that “Whatever leadership that emerges, is a leadership that has the respect of everyone in the party because we want Mr President to continue to work with a solid and strong party, APC,” he said.
The governors of the APC had announced February 2022 as the month for the National Convention of the party.
The governors made the announcement following a meeting with Mr Buhari on Monday. Mr Bagudu while briefing journalists after the meeting said Mr Buhari approved the new date.
Mr Bagudu visited the president alongside Mala Mai Buni, the governor of Yobe State and chairman Caretaker Committee of the APC, and Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State.