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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.”

POLITICS

Sack Tambuwal From Office, APC Begs Supreme Court

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The All Progressive Congress (APC) has asked the Supreme Court to sack Governor Waziri Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State on the ground of irregularities in the primary election that produced him as the party’s candidate in 2014.

The party, in a change of gear, directed its counsel Abduganiyu Arobo to concede to the appeal filed by Senator Umaru Dahiru to get judgment entered in favour of the appellant.

To pave way for the actualization of its new position, the APC de-briefed its lead counsel Mr Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), who stood for the party at the federal high court and the Court of Appeal where he got favourable judgments for the party.

At yesterday’s hearing, a new counsel, Abdulganiyu Arobo announced his appearance for APC shortly after the senior lawyer made the same appearance.

Okutepa in response admitted receiving a letter but insisted that his legal fee payment issue has to be resolved before he will step aside.

Justice Dattijo who demanded a copy of the letter drew the attention of the senior counsel to a portion of the letter that he was engaged for the party by governor Tambuwal and that he should approach Tambuwal for his legal fees paid.

At this point, Okutepa announced his withdrawal from the appeal.

He, however, told the apex court that he ran into stormy waters with the party when he declined to agree to reverse the positions canvassed by APC at the federal high court and the Court of Appeal.

He said he declined to agree because in law, parties must be consistent with their position and that APC was no longer ready to be consistent with its earlier position in two previous courts.

Okutepa further said that the new position of APC came about because of the defection of Governor Tambuwal from the party to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) adding that since he is not a politician but a minister in the temple of justice, he could not join them in the new position.

However, the appeal could not be heard as the court informed parties to wait till January 25, 2019, for its decision in the preliminary objection against hearing of the suit filed by Tambuwal.

Justice Dattijo subsequently fixed March 5, 2019, for the hearing of the appeal.

Dahiru also of APC had challenged the nomination of Tambuwal on the ground that the list of delegates who ought to vote at the 2014 primary election of the party was fraudulently swapped to favour governor Tambuwal.

He urged the court to nullify the primary election or in the alternative, declare him as the rightful candidate of the party for the 2015 governorship election.

The appellant lost at the high court and court of appeal prompting him to approach the Supreme Court for a final decision.

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PDP To Kashamu: You Are A Clown, You’re On A Journey To Nowhere

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The Peoples Democratic Party has said it has only but pity for the Independent National Electoral Commission/court-recognised governorship candidate for Ogun State, Senator Buruji Kashamu Buruji.

The party in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondian, spoke against the backdrop of the presentation of governorship flag to Kashamu and his running mate, Dr. Reuben Abati, on Monday.

The party said Kashamu has finally turned himself into a clown in his desperate bid to destabilize the PDP as part of his pact with the Buhari Presidency.

It said this followed the threat of imminent extradition of Kashamu from Nigeria over alleged international fraud.

The party described as the height of ridicule, Kashamu’s purported presentation of himself as Ogun State governorship candidate of the PDP, for which he had to organize his own sham campaign rally, rented an audience and presented a fake PDP flag to himself, after the authentic flag had been handed to the PDP candidate, Ladi Adebutu, by the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.

The statement added: “Senator Buruji, in his forced hallucination, has failed to realize that Nigerians, particularly the voters in Ogun State, have seen through his antics; they know that he is not the PDP governorship candidate in Ogun state; they know that he has a pact with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to destabilize the PDP; they also know that he is a clown on a journey to no where.

“Nigerians are aware that Senator Buruji never purchased PDP nomination form; never participated in our governorship primary or in any process related to nomination of governorship candidate of our party or any position whatsoever.

“Those using Senator Buruji as their agent have turned him into object of public ridicule, particularly in his charade of organizing a rally to hand a fake flag to himself.

“The PDP therefore urges the people of Ogun state to completely disregard Senator Buruji as a clown and continue in their support for the PDP governorship candidate, Ladi Adebutu, who is already coasting to victory.”

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POLITICS

Atiku, Obi, Secondus, Saraki, Dogara; Families & Associates Listed For Arrest — PDP

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National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, on Monday alleged that the Federal Government and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have listed critical players in opposition including himself, the PDP Presidential Candidate Atiku Abubakar, his Vice Peter Obi, the Senate President Bukola Saraki, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, other top party leaders and their associates for arrest on frame up crimes.

The PDP National Chairman came hard on the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, saying that he has made himself a willing tool to carry out the APC script on how to cage and crush PDP.

“The country is in a keg of a gunpowder at the moment as a result of your hatchet job for the ruling government and I warn you to get away from this illegitimate job of using instruments of state to harass and intimidate opponents,” Prince Secondus said in a statement through his Media Office signed by his Media Adviser Ike Abonyi.

He said that available intelligence shows that former Lagos State Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu and former Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio are presiding over clandestine meetings and developing strategies for the APC which is aimed at freezing critical leaders of the opposition.

He said that aside arrest and detention of opposition leaders, their family members and business associates have been lined up for intimidation and harassment including freezing their business interests and their bank accounts.

Secondus described as an afterthought fabrication, the EFCC denial that the son of the PDP Presidential Candidate was not the target in the raid of an apartment housing him in Abuja insisting that the game plan privy to the party was clear on who was the ultimate target.

Prince Secondus reminded Nigerians that these acts of impunity is in continuation of the embarrassment they caused our Presidential candidate and former Vice President of this country on Novemeber 11, 2019 when he was thoroughly searched at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport by operatives of the state on his return from overseas on November 11, 2018.

“After that embarrassment and harassment which was aimed at intimidating the candidate and nothing incriminating was found on him, no apology was extended to him as a former number two citizen.

“They followed it up with the freezing of the Bank account of our Vice Presidential Candidate as well as that of his friends and family members as part of a large scheme to keep the party distracted from its focus of regaining power in 2019.”

According to the script, “PDP will be brought to their knees so that by January they would be finally grounded with their leaders framed up and put behind bars,” Secondus said.

He said that in the script, APC and the Federal Government believe that the party can only bark and not bite as observed in the case of Osun and Ekiti states while indeed they are set and determined for the worse rather than lose the election.

Prince Secondus warned that “while PDP believes and cherishes all ingredients of democracy including the rule of law, it cannot guarantee any situation that aims at cowing the opposition and thwart the will of the Nigeria people.”

He chided “Magu and other characters of his type who are willing to assist the APC in undermining democracy, to look back at history and know that the consequences are always not palatable.”

The PDP National Chairman called on “all lovers of democracy and rule of law especially international community to rein in President Buhari, Magu and the APC to observe the tenets of democracy that respects the sanctity of the opposition and human rights.”

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