The President of the Nigerian Senate, Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, has asked Nigerians blackmailing the leadership of the National Assembly for allegedly tinkering with the report of the joint Committees on Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC on the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to direct their energy towards lobbying the lawmakers.
Some Nigerians had within the last two weeks, alleged that the leadership of the National Assembly tampered with the report on Electoral Act set to be considered at both chambers on Thursday.
The agitators specifically alleged that the clause providing for electronic transmission of results from 8, 809 wards across the country to the INEC Server had been removed by the leadership of both chambers.
Though at separate events last week, both the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila had debunked the insinuations and asked agitated groups to lobby their lawmakers
However, in plenary on Tuesday, Lawan described the allegations of manipulating the contents of the bill as the work of mischief makers bent on blackmailing the leadership of the National Assembly.
Refutal of the insinuation came to the fore after the chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC Kano South) laid the report for consideration.
The Senate President, therefore, advised Nigerians to lobby lawmakers on any aspect of the bill they feel strongly about, insisting that the National Assembly would do only what is right when it eventually considers the bill.
He disclosed that the attempt by some elements to blackmail the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives resulted in the publication of his phone number and that of the Speakers’ on various online platforms.
He said his privacy was invaded with over 900 messages accusing him of manipulating the contents of the bill.
The Senate President, however, maintained that the National Assembly can only consider aspects of the amendment bill contained in the Committee’s report presented to the upper chamber for consideration.
Lawan said, “There are various accusations, insinuations that the leadership of the Senate, sometimes the leadership of the National Assembly have tampered with the report of the committee on INEC of both chambers.
“Some of those accusing the leadership of the National Assembly are innocently misinformed, some are simply mischievous and rabble-rousers.
“This is the first time this report is laid here. This is the decision of the committee on INEC and, therefore, whatever will be discussed or considered about the Electoral Act Amendment Bill will be on the basis of what has been presented to the Senate here.
“If anybody feels very strongly about anything, lobby distinguished Senators to canvass for your position, rather than blackmail our leadership, because my telephone line and that of the Honourable Speaker were published. In one day, I received over 900 messages saying we have manipulated this, we didn’t.
“We will do what is right, we have our procedures and lobbying is part of democracy.”
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