Friday, 16 March 2018

Pro-Buhari Senators Gather Signatures To Stop Senate Veto


Members of the Nigerian Senate loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari have started gathering signatures as part of efforts to frustrate moves by the upper chamber to veto the electoral bill. It was also learnt that some All Progressives Congress (APC) governors have intervened to ensure that the Senate’s decision to override Buhari’s veto power in the passage of the amendment to the Electoral Act 2010 was not successful.

The president had written to lawmakers on his decision to withhold assent to the controversial Electoral Act 2010 Amendment Bill which seeks to re-order the sequence of polls in such a way that the presidential election would come last during the general elections. Punch reliably gathered that members of Buhari’s cabinet and governors on the platform of the ruling APC had been mobilising members of the National Assembly loyal to Buhari to frustrate the move to override the President’s veto on the amended Electoral Act.

An APC governor from the North-Central, one from the South-West and another from the North-West were said to have been part of a meeting with the lawmaker representing Nasarawa West Senatorial District, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, in Abuja last Thursday. Adamu is leading the opposition to the amendment, which is considered to be anti-Buhari in the Senate.

It was reliably learnt that a minister from the South-South was also part of the meeting, where it was agreed that the pro-Buhari members of the National Assembly would be mobilised to frustrate the likely overriding of the President on the bill. One of the senators opposed to the amendment told Punch on Wednesday night that it was the meeting that made Senator Obinna Ogba (PDP-Ebonyi-Central) to raise the alarm that there was a move to sack the leadership of the Senate led by Bukola Saraki.

The lawmaker however insisted that the meeting was to mobilise for Buhari’s defence and not to sack Saraki. The source said: “Of course, there was a meeting but it was not held with Adamu in Lafia on Tuesday, it was held at his residence in Abuja last Thursday. But they started gathering signatures on Tuesday. The conclusion at the meeting was that senators who were opposed to the amendment should lobby others to reject the move to override Buhari’s veto on the bill.

“So far so good, we should have got the needed number that we need, which is just over 40. They need 73 or two-third of the 109 to override the veto but we need less than 50 to frustrate that. “The Peoples Democratic Party caucus just met tonight and part of their agenda is how to achieve the imposition of the bill on the President.” He said although the larger percentage of the PDP caucus is for the amendment, a particular member of the caucus from the South-East chose to sign the  pro-Buhari senators’ list. “He has already signed with us and there is a few others too,” he added.

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