ABUJA—SENATE Minority Leader, George Akume, yesterday, foreclosed the possibility of the National Assembly overriding former President Goodluck Jonathan’s veto on the 1999 Constitution Amendment Bill, passed by the National Assembly.
Akume said the inability of Jonathan to assent to the bill before the end of his tenure has rendered the bill dead, saying there was nothing the legislature can do to get the amendment becomes law.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja, Akume, who represents Benue North West in the Senate under the All Progressives Congress, APC, said even as the Supreme Court asked both the Federal Government and the National Assembly to settle the issue out of court, the court did not ask that the government made concession nor ask the legislature to override the president’s veto
“The issue here is very clear, if it was not assented to, I do not know what you want us to do. It is very clear that this particular bill will now struggle to find a place in the new Senate, which is the 8th Senate.
“Jonathan has left and the bill is still a bill until it is assented to. The Supreme Court has made its own pronouncement, the Supreme Court didn’t say go and override or the president should go and make concession. One way or the other, this issue has not been resolved, so that is the responsibility of the 8th Senate if they feel it is a major priority for the Senate, “he said.
Responding to question on why he jettisoned his ambition to become the Senate President in the 8th Senate and instead, seeking to become deputy, Senator Akume said the decision was informed by what he called the “dynamism of politics” in the race.
He said: “That is the dynamism of politics, politics is like that and what we have sought to do and we have been trying to do is to as much as possible, have an internal realignment, consolidate and move forward. Basically, that is what has been done.
He defended the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to move the military command headquarters to Maiduguri, saying it was the only way out if the nation was prepared to win the war against insurgency in the North East.
“The movement of the military command headquarters to the epicenter of the insurgency is a step in the right direction.
There is no way you will be fighting terror in, for instance, Makurdi and then your headquarters is in Abuja or it’s in Jos. It is always good to be there to make direct assessment and to confront the challenges headlong. I think apart from saying he was moving it, he was also dedicated to the training of the Armed Forces. I think these are very important, “he insisted.
Akume said the APC- led government was aware of the expectations of Nigerians from it, saying the party, through its leader and president, Muhammadu Buhari, was up to the task.
“First of all, we have never doubted the difficulties and challenges that lie ahead, yet we are deciding to throw the hat into the ring. If you look at the caliber of personalities in the APC, you are left in no doubt that we have the personnel, we have the commitment, and the patriotism to fight and these are confrontations that we have to start from the top.
“The president himself is a tested person as I had said and he is going to live by example. And so, we have no doubt that these problems are going to be tackled but he himself said these problems can never be over within a fortnight.
“He had said it before, that solutions to complex problems cannot be as instant as coffee and I employ Nigerians not to look back, we are very determined and by the grace of God, we are going to meet the expectations of the people, “he added.
The senator, who refused to assess the 7th Senate, saying it would be inappropriate for him as one of the key actors to do so, however, said the outgoing Senate did not fail the people of Nigeria.
“Well, it may be inappropriate for me as one of the key actors of the National Assembly to evaluate our performance, I believe Nigerians will do so. But let me reinstate with all equivocation that in spite of the difficulties, the 7th Senate was able to do well.
“Through oversight functions, we have been able to harness some of the untoward and unhealthy practices in the executive. These are there clear for everybody to take note of.
“ We have come but many of my colleagues may not be coming but a few are returning to the Red Chamber and together, we will continue from where we stopped and I believe that with more dedication, we will do our best, “he added.