The Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Sadiq Umar, has said overriding President Buhari on the Electoral Act Bill would have plunged the country into a constitutional Crisis.
Umar who represents Kwara North in the National Assembly disclosed at the weekend while fielding questions from newsmen at a programme organised by the Correspondent Chapel at NUJ secretariat, Ilorin.
According to him, the senators did not do a u-turn on the issue but were forced by the decision of the House of Representatives to stand down the debate on the President’s letter.
He said: “What happened was that after the National Assembly passed the Electoral Act, the president wrote back to us given reasons why he could not assent.
“We believe some of the reasons, some we don’t, others we are confused and doubting.
“For the senate, we were ready to override and there was a debate where we struggled on this.
“But while that was going on, the House of Representatives unfortunately did not address the president’s letter. They felt it was a hot matter that need more consultations and engagement and kept it in abeyance to pass the budget with a plan to return to it after coming back from the holiday when they would have engaged with their constituents.
“For us, we were preparing to do what we wanted to do but given our rules and constitutional provision, even if we eventually overruled the president in the senate, it would have been null and void because there has to be concurrence between the two chambers.
“So the senators also buy into the decision of the green chambers to continue consultations with our people so that when we resume, we will do what the people want us to do or what we have seen is the best for Nigeria.
“Our action was a strategic decision to avoid constitutional crisis”, he submitted.
Sadiq who denied that the senate was a rubber stamp to the executive justified the approvals of all the loan requests by the president.
“The popular saying is that Nigeria is very rich, but that saying is erroneous when you justapose it with our revenue and population.
“The amount of money we need to revamp the education sector alone, the whole money available to government cannot do it and same thing goes for all other sectors like health and Infrastructure among others”
“The bitter truth is that the country cannot do a single Infrastructure without loans now except salaries because of revenue constraints”, he added.