President to Sign 2022 Budget Next Week
The leadership of the National Assembly has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari will sign the N17.13 2022 Appropriation Bill into law next week.
This is just as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, claimed ignorance of the 360-man House’s collection of members signature for the reversal of the refusal of President Buhari to assent to the 2021 Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawan, while speaking with newsmen after meeting with President Buhari in the company of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, at the State House, Abuja, said they were at the Villa on the invitation of President Buhari, who had wanted a thank you message to the National Assembly through its leaders for their services to the nation.
He expressed surprise at the decision of the President to veto the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021, noting that the National Assembly had received the President’s reason for his action and that the next step is left for the legislature to work on the bill to be able to produce a perfect law that will help the nation’s electoral process.
Said he: “Mr. President invited the honourable speaker and me to come so he could thank the National Assembly through us for working so hard to pass the 2022 appropriation bill, which will be brought to Mr. President for his assent by next week by the grace of God.
“We’re very optimistic. In fact, we’re very sure that Mr President will sign the bill into an act of the National Assembly next week by the grace of God. And this is the way we should always work together. This is our third appropriation bill to be passed before we go on Christmas break.
“It has shown how important the passage and the assent to the budget before the end of the year has been. You will recall that we were in two or three different recessions. But because public expenditure, which normally drives our economy, as a developing economy, has always brought that advantage, made the availability of funds into the economy. And we can come out of the recess periods.
“So, I want to thank Mr President for thanking the National Assembly. Because this is essentially the reason why he invited the speaker and me to say that National Assembly, thank you very much for working with us for making this budget 2022 pass in good time as you did for 2020 and 2021.”
On how he reacted to the President’s veto of the Electoral Bill, Lawan said “well, that I think is not an issue, Mr. President has withheld assent and he has written to us in the National Assembly. So, the matter is not whether I’m surprised or not, I shouldn’t express any surprise because we have our own processes, he has his own and we did our own and he has done his own now. So, the ball is in our court for us to look at the observations Mr. President has raised and see how we react to the observations Mr. President has raised.
“But I want to say this, that at the end of the day, what will come out of all these processes will be to the benefit of our electoral processes, it will be an outcome that will ensure that INEC is able to monitor these processes properly, that our political parties are also able to be strong, that at the end of the day, Nigerians should have an Electoral Act amended to make the election of Nigerians into various offices very transparent, full of integrity and of course, we will be proud at the end of the day that we are part of that history of amending the Electoral Act to make our electoral processes better”, he said.
Also speaking, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Gbajabiamila reacted to reported collection of signatures in the National Assembly to override the President’s veto, saying “I’m not aware of any such threats to override the President’s decision; at least not in my chambers. We’re on a break right now. So, the collection of signatures is not something that is done when everybody’s scattered.
“I made it abundantly clear at our last sitting that we will look at the President’s veto and his reasons when we come back on. It’s not something we’re going to do on a knee jerk.
“When we come back from our recess, there’s still ample time. We will decide one way or the other. We will do what is right for the Nigerian people.
“And I made it very clear that we’re not going to throw away the baby with the bathwater. And the electoral law is what a credible electoral process needs. And laws are what is required at this time. Nigerians want it and Nigerians will get it”, he said.