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Strong indications emerged weekend that the National Assembly members have started collating signatures on a possible override of the President’s veto, with 67 Senators already endorsing what may be described as a Pro-Senate register seeking the override of the veto.

It was gathered on Sunday that the register, which is kept by a North East Senator of the APC was said to have moved to 67 from the initial 63 as at last week, even as the source said that the number of Senators might rise far beyond 80 if the more than 20 others said to be sitting on the fence initially sign up this week.

It was also gathered that the Senate is now divided into two camps, with the Pro-Senate wing enjoying the majority so far as the Pro Buhari Senators are also said to be unrelenting in their push as sources said that they are struggling to up the number from the 15 loyalists so far.

According to the source: “The strategy is working well for the pro-Senate Group, which has also sent some members to infiltrate the ranks of the pro-Buhari group to give them a false sense of hope. That makes the Pro-Buhari group have a false sense of improvement but the Senators know where they really belong.”

Another source stated: “A meeting of the Pro-Senate group held in Lagos after the wedding party of the daughter of Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote in Lagos at the weekend. The meeting afforded the Pro-Senate Senators the opportunity to review the register and it was affirmed that 67 senators have so far signed.”

Meanwhile, a source said that the intervention of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) seeking to ensure a truce between the executive and the legislature in respect of the planned override of the President’s veto of Electoral Act Amendment bill 2018 appears to have collapsed.

Investigations at the weekend indicated that the Senators and members of the House of Representatives were yet to see concrete evidence of the party putting in place a peace option after the visit of the John Odigie-Oyegun-led NWC to the chambers.
The Odigie-Oyegun-led NWC met with the APC caucuses in the National Assembly last week in a bid to stall the planed override of the Presidential veto of the Electoral Act Amendment bill, 2018.

Meanwhile, following President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to assent to the new amendment to the Electoral Act, which seeks to re-order the sequence of the polls during general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has ordered its members in the Senate to give a bloc vote to ensure that Senators override his veto.
Vanguard gathered that the PDP Senators are at the moment very sure of forty members that have already signed to vote for the process.

Though at the moment, the PDP has 44 members, but the support from four members is still very dicey against the backdrop that two of the PDP Senators who have gubernatorial ambition in their states and to contest under another party, outside the PDP, especially the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA are sitting on the fence.

According to the source, one of the Senators from Ebonyi, another one from Imo, one from Ogun State and one from Anambra states have not actually thrown their weights behind the project as the PDP Senators are still waiting for their signatures.

A source also told Vanguard that one of the Senators from Imo State, said he has refused to sign in line with the directives of the party, because he was still spying at the activities of other members in the APC.
It was also gathered that another PDP Senator before now, precisely last month, was sitting on the fence, but the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki was said to have intervened and the Senator had a change of mind.

It was gathered that at least three Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) joined the Senators at the Lagos meeting and that it was adopted that the interpretation of the law is that the two-thirds majority of those present in each chamber would be required and not two-thirds majority of all members of the Senate.

The source said: “The plan for the overriding votes may start this week as the Senate leadership are sure they now have “very sufficient” numbers to act and get the desired results.

“Those who think they control South-West Senators will have a shocker of their lives. At least 10 Senators from that zone will vote for the amendment; 15 from South-South; 13 from South-East, 13 from North-Central, 10 from North-East and seven from the North West. That is the zonal classification of those who have signed so far. We will get more from those who are still sitting on the fence. The recent position of Gen. TY Danjuma and the Coalition of Northern Groups are helping to win more sympathizers for the Pro-Senate group.”

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POLITICS

Ogun 2019: Ex-Speaker Dimeji Bankole Emerges ADP Governorship Candidate

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole, has emerged the governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party in Ogun State.

Bankole emerged the party’s candidate on Saturday evening at its primaries in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Announcing Bankole as the candidate, the Returning Officer for the primaries, Chief Chamberlain Amadi, said he polled 157,466 votes to clinch the ticket in an election held across the 236 wards in the state.

Amadi commended members of the party for conducting themselves peacefully during the elections.

He urged them to work assiduously well in ensuring that candidates of the party for all elective posts emerged victorious in the forthcoming elections.

He said: “I am glad today to announce that the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, has won the governorship primary of our party in Ogun state after polling 157,466 votes.

“This election was conducted across the 236 wards scattered across the 20 local governments and 37 LCDAs in the state.

“We have the total number of members accredited across the state to be a total of 157,600 and the election free and fair.

“By the power conferred on me as the Returning Officer in Ogun State, I hereby declare Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole as the winner of this primary election and flagbearer of the party during the 2019 governorship election.”

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BIG STORY

2019: Gbenga Daniel Tipped As Atiku’s Running Mate As PDP Reportedly Zones VP Slot To South-West

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The search for a running mate for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, began immediately after the conclusion of the primaries in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Sunday.

According to Eagle Online, Atiku Abubakar, a number of the aspirants for the presidential tickets, some governors and chieftains of the party, including the Director General of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, met immediately after the primaries to iron out the issues of zoning of positions the party will adopt ahead of the 2019 elections.

According to informed sources, the meeting agreed that the vice presidential slot should be zoned to the South West in order to counter the ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress, which has President Muhammadu Buhari for the North and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo from the South West.

According to sources at the meeting, the position of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation was zoned to the South East.

The Eagle Online was told that one of those mentioned for consideration at the meeting for the vice presidential slot was Daniel.

He was said to have been considered fit for the position because like Osinbajo, he is from Ogun State and has huge network across the country, especially having been a crucial part of the Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organisation in 2015 and campaigned across the country for the national chairmanship seat of the PDP, which was eventually won by Prince Uche Secondus.

Sources said those at the meeting also said Daniel performed creditably as governor and has succeeded in rallying the party in his home state for a formidable challenge of the APC in the general election.

One of those said to be in pole position for the SGF slot from the South East is a former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi.

Obi rose to national prominence as governor based on his performance, especially the prudent management of the state’s resources, and has sustained this outside political office with his contributions to education and knowledge of economic issues.

Some party leaders and members are, however, said to be rooting for the emergence of a South-Easterner as the vice presidential running mate.

They also canvassed the position at the meeting, which was adjourned to a later date, which will be soon, for the presidential campaign to commence.

In a related development, Chief Chinedu Eya, a chieftain of the PDP in Enugu State, on Sunday congratulated Abubakar following his emergence as the presidential candidate and called on him to choose the country’s former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala or Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, representing Bayelsa North Senatorial District as his running mate, to give technical coloration to his aspiration.

Eya, a former Enugu North Senatorial District aspirant on the platform of PDP, who spoke after a keenly contested primary election of the PDP at the national convention of the party held at the Adokiye Amasiemeka stadium, Igwuruta-Ali, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, congratulated the party’s delegates for their bold decision during the exercise.

Eya noted that his choice Murray-Bruce and Okonjo-Iweala was to allow front-line technocrats in the country the opportunity to chart a new course for the Nation’s bastardized economy under the APC in one term.

In a statement by his media aide, Gwiyi Solomon, the PDP chieftain urged the other presidential aspirants who participated in the primary election to happily accept the outcome of the contest and rally round the chosen candidate of the party as the tasks ahead of the general election will be daunting.

Eya said: “The wise thing to do at the moment is for Atiku to choose Dr. Okonjo Iweala or Senator Ben Murray-Bruce to give technical colouration to his aspiration.”
“While I congratulate our delegates for a good job, I also want to beg other contestants in the exercise to hug Atiku and become ‘Atikulated’ as the tasks ahead of the coming general election will no doubt, appear very daunting.”

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POLITICS

Ajimobi Clinches Oyo South Senatorial Ticket

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The Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has clinched the All Progressives Congress ticket for Oyo South Senatorial District in the primary election conducted by the Chief Ademola Seriki-led electoral panel.

Ajimobi defeated Dr. Fola Akinosun by 2,659 to 168 votes to seek a return to the Red Chamber, where he represented the state between 2003 and 2007 on the platform of the defunct Alliance for Democracy.

Announcing the result in the early hours of Wednesday, Seriki said the exercise, which started around 6:30pm on Tuesday, was delayed due to the late arrival of voting materials from the national headquarters of the party in Abuja.

The Oyo South Senatorial District spans nine local government areas, which are Ibarapa North, Ibarapa East, Ibarapa Central, Ido, Ibadan North, Ibadan South-East, Ibadan South-West, Ibadan North-East and Ibadan North-West.

The Senator currently representing the district, Soji Akanbi, did not take part in the exercise for undisclosed reasons.

Addressing journalists after being declared the winner, the governor applauded the electoral committee for what he called the hitch-free and smooth conduct of the exercise, despite the earlier delay.

Ajimobi said: “I look forward to going back to the Red Chamber to contribute my quota to the national debate and the progress of the nation.

“I wish to bring to fore my parliamentary experience to grow a Nigeria that the next generation will be proud of.

“The process has just started today (yesterday) with my emergence as the candidate of our great party.

“The people of Oyo South Senatorial district should expect greater performance from me at the Senate, which will even surpass my unprecedented achievements as governor by the grace of God.

“As you have all witnessed, the election was free, fair and transparent.

“I was even happy that my younger brother, Dr. Fola Akinosun, could score as high as 168 votes.

“I think he tried.

“And you can see that it was transparent and I am happy about it.”

Akinosun, who was present at the beginning of the exercise, left the venue for undisclosed reasons before the final collation of the results from the nine LGs.

He had earlier promised to abide by the results of the primary on the condition that it was free and fair, adding that he decided to throw his hat into the ring as a free citizen and qualified member of the APC, irrespective of the stature of his co-contestants.

Akinosun added: “This election is not about life.

“It is about representation and should not be by force.

“I promise to accept the outcome of the polls and that is if the due diligence is done.

“We are in the same party and we shall not allow an internal election to create a crisis in our party.”

Also addressing delegates after announcing the results, Seriki described the exercise as another successful primary that the committee had conducted, having also taken charge of the governorship primary that produced Chief Adebayo Adelabu on Sunday.

He said: “You heard what happened in some states that conducted the same exercise.

“Some were not as successful as Oyo State and I give the credit to the aspirants and the entire members of this great party for making this exercise worthwhile.

“I salute the calmness and maturity of the aspirants that have so far participated in the primaries, from Sunday’s governorship primary and today’s Senate primary.

“We look forward to further cooperation of all stakeholders in the remaining primaries.”

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