The President of the Nigerian Senate, Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, has kicked against what he described as the ‘calculated blackmail’ against the leadership of the National Assembly over the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021, presently before both chambers.
The senate leader 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.
Lawan in his remarks after a report on the bill was laid before the upper chamber on Wednesday attributed the falsehood peddled in accusations fingering the leadership of the National Assembly of manipulating the contents of the bill as the work of mischief makers bent on blackmailing the leadership of the National Assembly.
The report on the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021, was laid by the Chairman of the Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Senator Kabiru Gaya.
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 the Speaker’s on various online platforms.
According to him, his privacy was invaded with over nine hundred messages accusing him of manipulating the contents of the Electoral Act (Amendment) 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 nine hundred 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.”