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.”
Interesting Times Ahead In Kogi As Dino Melaye Picks Guber Nomination Form
The Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, has picked the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) nomination forms for the Kogi State governorship election.
Similarly, another aspirant, Abubakar Suleiman, also picked the nomination documents for the Kogi election billed to hold on November 16.
The duo picked their nomination documents at the Abuja national secretariat of the PDP on Thursday.
Addressing journalists shortly after the nomination formalities, Melaye his decision to contest the election was informed by the agitation, clarion call and passion from people of Kogi state.
“The ambition is not mine but that of the people of Kogi state. There is the dire need to recover our state which has been completely battered, shattered and destroyed.
“Today, the magnitude and intensity of killings in Kogi State surpassed any other time in the history of our state. The state has never experienced such insecurity before.
“I have looked for people who believe that the welfare of workers of Kogi State is the basic priority of government and people who believe that security and the welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government and all these we will achieved
“Unemployment is on the high side. Retrenchment, sack and non-payment of salaries and pension are now a tradition in Kogi State. The economy and the economic activities in Kogi State have completely depleted. I have heard the loud cry from the Almighty and he said,: who do I send and I said, send me,” Melaye said.
The controversial senator vowed to defeat Governor Yahaya Bello in the coming poll, saying, “We are resolutely determined to chase the mediocre in Lugard House.
“We are too sophisticated to have Yahaya Bello as a governor. We are too intellectually mobile to have a classless character like Yahaya Bello as governor.
“He never won an election. He is a coronated governor. Now for the first time, he is attempting to contest to be the governor through electioneering process. This is his first time and we will prove to him that we are masters in the game and we will separate the boys from the men”
Also speaking with journalists after picking his forms, Suleiman said Kogi is in dire need of change in leadership, stressing that things have deteriorated in the three-and-a-half years that Governor Yahaya Bello has been in the saddle.
Bemoaning the poor state of infrastructure and economy in the Kogi, Suleiman said workers have been reduced to beggars while victimisation and intimidation of the people had become the order of the day.
Stating his mission for joining the race, Suleiman said, “I have a priority policy document that I have worked on, which include: social infrastructure, fundamentals of government, physical responsibility and economic development.
“The policies are intertwined. For example economic development includes job creation; empowerment is related to physical infrastructure. My social infrastructure plans include health, schools and roads. All these will be given serious consideration”.
Recall that another aspirant, Dr Joseph Ameh had obtained his nomination documents for the Kogi governorship race on Tuesday.
Judgement Day: Oyetola, Adeleke In Final Battle At The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court will today (Friday) give judgment in the four appeals filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last governorship election in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
A seven-man panel led by Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad had, after hearing the appeals on June 17, 2019 fixed July 5, 2019, for judgment.
Adeleke and the PDP are, by their four appeals, marked: SC/553/2019; SC/554/2019; SC/555/2019 and SC/556/2019, challenging the May 9, 2019 judgments of the Court of Appeal, Abuja which affirmed the election of Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the Governor of Osun State.
The Court of Appeal also set aside the majority judgment of the election tribunal which had allowed Adeleke’s petition and declared him winner of the election.
By agreement of lawyers in the appeals, the court on June 17, 2019 took arguments from Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), for the appellant, and Wole Olanipekun (SAN), for the 1st respondent (Oyetola), in respect of appeal marked: SC/553/2019.
The court said its judgment in the main appeal – SC/553/2019 – will be applied to two other similar one, filed by Adeleke against the Court of Appeal’s decision in relation to the appeals filed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC,marked: SC/554/2019 and SC/555/2019.
The court also took arguments from Ikpeazu (for the appellant), Yusuf Alli (SAN) for INEC; Bode Olanipekun (SAN) for Oyetola and Olumide Olujinmi, for APC in relation to the fourth appeal, marked: SC/556/2019.
In their arguments, lawyers to the respondents – INEC, Oyetola and the APC faulted the appeals and prayed the court to dismiss them for lacking in merit.
The respondents prayed the court to uphold the judgments as given onMay9, 2019 by the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which affirmed Oyetola of the APC as the winner of the governorship election held in september 2018.
In relation to the first set of appeals – SC/553/2019; SC554/2019 and SC/555/2019, ikpeazu urged the court to set aside the judgements of the Court of Appeal and restore the majority judgment given in his client’s favour by the election tribunal.
In a counter-argument, Wole Olanipekun, Alli and Olunijmi faulted the competence of the appeals and urged the court to dismiss them for lacking in merit.
They prayed the court to uphold the May 9 judgments given in favour of the respondents by the Court of Appeal.
In arguing the fourth appeal: SC/556/2019, Ikpeazu urged the court to set aside the two concurrent judgments of the election tribunal and the Court of Appeal, in which both courts rejected Adeleke’s request to void the supplementary election held after INEC declared the Osun governorship election inconclusive.
Ikpeazu said his client’s contention was that INEC lacked the powers to have cancelled elections in some pooling units and order a rerun.
He argued that the supplementary election was unnecessary because his client had won the election and met the constitutional requirement to be declared winner.
Ikpeazu prayed the court to set aside the Paragraph 44 of the INEC’s Guideline,on which basis the supplementary election was held,on the grounds that it conflicted with the Constitution.
Olanipekun’s son, Bode Olanipekun (SAN) argued the fourth appeal for Oyetola, urged the court to disregard Ikpeazu’s contention that the supplementary election was unnecessary.
He argued that Paragraph 44 of INEC Guidelines was not in conflict with the Constitution.
Olanipekun, who noted that Section 178(4) of the Constitution provides that the entire state is the constituency for a governorship election.
He argued that “where elections have not held in the entire state, the appellant cannot contend that he won the election, as against the 2nd respondent (Oyetola), who won the election as conducted across the whole of the state,” Olanipekun said.
He urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.
Lawyers to INEC and the APC argued in similar vein, with Alli (for INEC) arguing that Ikpeazu’s submission on reliefs 8and 9 of his client (Adeleke’s) petition,overlooked the fact that election tribunal are special tribunal with limited jurisdiction to determine whether somebody was properly returned in an election.
“The quarrel of the appellant is against a concurrent findings of two lowers courts. There is no compelling reason to make this court interfere with the concurrent findings of the two lower courts,” Alli said.
Olujinmi urged the court to be guided by its earlier decision in the case of Faleke v. INEC 2016 8 NWLR, prt 1543 pg 61, in which this court affirmed the limited scope of the jurisdiction of the election tribunal.
He noted that even though Adeleke and his party, the PDP are aware of this court’s decision in that case (Faleke case), but have failed to approach the court for departure on its position on that issue.
Other members of the panel that heard the appeals Justices Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, Kumai Aka’ahs, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Amiru Sanusi, Paul Galunmje and Uwani Abbah-Aji.
Nigeria Senate: Tension As 9th Assembly Elects Principal Officers Today
As the election of Nigeria’s 9th Senate President and his Deputy comes up on (today) Tuesday with Senator Ahmed Lawan and Ali Ndume locking horns for the position, both former 8th Senate leaders are still gripped with tension.
It’s particularly so, because the Clerk to the National Assembly, who is the administrative head has adopted a secret ballot system of Tuesday’s election of principal officers of the Senate.
Initially, there was conflict of ‘modus operandi’ with skepticism from the Ahmed Lawan Campaign Group headed by Senator Yahaya Abdullahi that if secret ballot was adopted, there might be shocked despite Ahmed Lawan’s adoption by the ruling All Progressives Congress.
While the Presidency’s intervention has made the former Governor of Gombe State, who is also a ranking Senator, Danjuma stepped down for Lawan, his rival, Ali Ndume representing Borno South has insisted that it was late stepping down for anyone.
Between Ahmed Lawan and Ndume, no one has had the pendulum swung in his favour yet despite the acclaimed endorsement of some Senators-elect.
What further makes the situation looks gloomy is the dead silence of the Senators-elect of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Among PDP Senators-elect, most are still indecisive. Their silence is not only grooming, but heightening tensions all over the places.
Prodded to talk on the situation of things ahead of today, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha representing Taraba South Senatorial district confirmed that the party would take a unanimous decision on who to vote.
Speaking on reasons for PDP’s silence even in few hours to the election, the ranking lawmaker said, “there is dignity in silence.”
He further ruled out open ballot, stating that secret ballot has always been a tradition, insisting that Tuesday’s election would not be different.
With PDP having 44 Senators-elect, they play a commanding decision as to who emerges as Senate President on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, PDP had scheduled a meeting last0 inviting all Senators-elect, House of Representatives-elect and governors at the instance of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Nwike to hold at Rivers House As Okoro.
Sources close to the venue explained that the party would take a position ahead of Tuesday’s election of principal officers of the upper and lower legislative Chambers. It also said, “the party would roll out conditions for supporting any candidate especially the Senate President.”
The source added that the party became uncomfortable over the ruling APC’s decision not to allow Chairmanship of Committees to any of its member irrespective of ranking or not. It added that so many factors would shape PDP’s decision at the meeting today.
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