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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

Bayelsa Guber: PDP Flags Off Campaign, As Diri Seeks Bayelsans Support

Peter Okunoren

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Ahead of the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Douye Diri has called on members of the party and all Bayelsans to support the party and ensure it emerges victorious.

Senator Diri assured the people of Bayelsa State that his government will be committed to industrialization and open several frontiers through which youths of the state can be gainfully employed.

Speaking during the flag-off of PDP gubernatorial campaign ahead of the November 16 governorship election at the Yenagoa Boat Club and OxBow Lake Grand Pavilion, which was witnessed by a mammoth crowd of party faithful across the eight local government area of the state, Senator Diri decried the antics of some other parties to threaten and intimidate those who have decided to willfully support the PDP, and urged all Bayelsans to remain undaunted in the face of such threats

The PDP candidate also lauded the efforts of Bayelsa State governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson for transforming Yenagoa from an underdeveloped city to one which has several monumental projects that have improved the quality of the lives of Bayelsans.

His words: “Get ready because that Brass LNG must work so that our youths will have employment so that Bayelsa will be a safe haven for investment, it will attract more investment to Bayelsa.

“I want to thank you all my party members, supporters and very industrious people of the Peoples Democratic Party, the only thing we owe ourselves and the generation yet unborn is to ensure that Bayelsa State develops.

“Those of us from the old Yenagoa local government area, we know that Yenagoa is no longer what it was. Yenagoa has moved from being a monologue road local government headquarters to being a brawling and developing city.

“There are monumental projects that our children will come and clap hands for you and me. One of them is the airport, it will outlive this government. We will no longer go to neighboring states to look for a plane to travel out of Bayelsa. We will remain here in Bayelsa and travel out of this place.

“So I want to thank all of you and believe that the numbers you have come out with, that you will come the same way on November 16 2019.”

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APC May No Longer Exist In 2023 After Buhari’s Tenure —- Rochas Okorocha

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Senator representing Imo West District in the National Assembly, Rochas Okorocha, has expressed fears that the All Progressives Congress, APC, may cease to exist when President Muhammadu Buhari leaves office in 2023.

The Senator, who stated this while addressing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, also lamented that his sacrifices to expand the membership base of the APC in the South-East was repaid by the party with evil.

He said, “I have never thought of leaving the party but what happens next will be determined by time.

“My only worry is that the party may disappear with the exit of President Buhari if the ongoing injustices are not addressed.

“Unlike other governors from the North that rode on the name Muhammadu Buhari to power, the name Buhari had a negative effect on my campaign for the second term.

“But I was determined to overcome that because I knew what we stood to gain.

“If anything, the party repaid me evil for good. There was no challenge I did not face or bad name I was not called in my state.

“They brought in people who fought me when I was building the party at state level to fight me over the control of the party. I don’t want to talk about it but my party did not treat me well.”

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POLITICS

APC Rejects Senator Kalu’s Sack By Abia Tribunal

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The Abia state chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has rejected the judgement of the National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, which nullified the election of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu on Monday.

Recall that the National and State House of Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia had nullified the election of the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Kalu, for Abia North Senatorial District.

Delivering its judgment on Monday, a member of the three-member tribunal, Justice I.P.C Igwe, said that the petitioner, Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa, successfully proved his allegation of substantial non-compliance with the electoral guidelines.

Ohuabunwa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had approached the tribunal to nullify the election of Kalu, who contested the Feb. 2019 election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.

The petitioner told the tribunal that Kalu’s declaration as the winner of the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not comply with the provisions of the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.

However, Comrade Benedict Godson, Publicity Secretary of APC in Abia, in an interview with newsmen, Monday in Umuahia, the state capital, said the party leadership vehemently reject the decision of the tribunal.

He urged all Abians, APC supporters and ever dedicated followers of Dr Orji Uzor-Kalu’s political history to remain calm as every legal procedure will be followed to appeal the judgement.

Godson, “We reject the judgement of the tribunal completely. We call on everyone, Abians, party supporters and the ever dedicated followers of OUK political history to remain calm as every necessary legal means will be applied to appeal this judgement”.

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