By Mosunmola Ayobami, Kwara
The Senator representing Kwara North Senatorial District, Umar Sadiq said the decision to zone the governorship position in the state in 2023 to the zone is that of the leadership of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He also said that the Senate only suspended action on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill vetoed by President Muhammadu Buhari because of some certain developments.
Sadiq, who is the most senior political office holder in the senatorial district on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) stated this while featuring on a personality programme ‘News Keg’ organized by Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Kwara State Council in Ilorin
Answering a question on the zone to produce the governor in 2023, he said: “The answer is very simple. We in Kwara North are very decent and good people. We are enterprising; we are very smart and hardworking and I do think that we deserve to govern Kwara like people from the other zones so that we can feel included and we would be able to show Kwarans what Kwara Northerners can do I believe in that.
“But the question you have asked me, how do you say you are zoning to Kwara North? We are operating a multi-party democracy and everybody belongs to a party. I was told that PDP has zoned governorship nomination to Kwara North. I don’t belong to PDP. What PDP does is honestly not my business.”
Sadiq also said he would take steps to retain his parliamentary seat in 2023 if asked to do so by his constituents.
“If you peruse the book I published, you will read about how I became a senator. The title became controversial because people misunderstood it.
“We tried to explain that the title was to encourage people to buy the book and that it was to illustrate how I was able to get the ticket and when you read the book it was stated that it was thirty days to the primary election that my people came to ask me to contest. They supported me and I won. Well, like you said that you have heard about it, if my people ask me to contest again, I would,” he said.
He noted that the Senate has not dumped plans to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on the 2021 Electoral Act Amendment bill but rather chose to suspend action on it because of the developments recorded at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Sadiq, who is the Chairman, Committee on Rules and Business, added that members of the senate also thought it wise to speak with stakeholders and constituents before making a final decision on the issue.
He noted that overriding the president’s veto requires a two-thirds vote of both chambers, adding, however, that since the House of Representatives was in recess having on Tuesday adjourned until January 2022 without a decision on the issue, whatever the Senate may have chosen to do would according to him be an exercise in futility.
He said that rather than the senate getting condemned for inaction or getting accused of backtracking, Nigerians should instead await its decision.
“Did we do a u-urn? No we did not do a u-turn. Did we believe in what we wanted to do ? Yes, most people believe in it. What is the issue?
“It is an electoral act that has to do with direct primary election and some people and political parties had said they don’t want direct primary election, that they want indirect primary election or consensus arrangements and that arguments had been going on but in our wisdom, members of the two houses said we prefer direct primary election and we said let us make it constitutional and make it deepen our democracy.
“We have therefore passed a bill that recommends direct primary election .
“We said let us allow party members to take decision on who will represent them and we passed the law.
“The president came back with his position that he would not assent the bill and he gave myriads of reasons, some of those reasons, we believe, some we don’t believe and some we are confused, some we are doubting.
“The senate was ready to override the president’s veto and say ‘no we are going ahead with it’. There was a debate, we moved up and down but unfortunately for us, while we were taking steps to override the president’s veto the House of Representatives did not address the issue.
“They felt that it is a hot matter that needs more consultations, more engagements so they say let us pass the budget, let us go for holiday, consult, think properly and we will come back and do what we should do.
“For us in the senate, we were preparing to do what we wanted to do but when that information came to us , putting constitutional provisions into consideration, even if we as a senate had decided to override the president’s veto it will be null and void.
“In the wisdom of the senators, we said ok, since this issue would not be addressed in the House of Representatives for now, let us also step it down and go and do the consultations and allow our constituents and stakeholders to give their take.
“When we resume, we will do what the people want us to do or what we have seen as being the best thing in the interest of Nigeria, so it was not a u-turn but a strategic decision,” he said.
The senator, who said he has sponsored 20 bills that have gotten to the second reading stage, said they were meant to strengthen Nigerian systems, democracy and good governance and also address issues that have to do with some professions.