APC Senators Attack Saraki Over Change In Election Timetable
A group of senators from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has attacked Senate President Bukola over the adoption of the conference committee report on amendment to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Act.
The APC senators also rejected the Senate adoption of the report.
The senators, 10 in number on Wednesday protested against the conference report that affirmed the controversial reordered electoral timetable.
The aggrieves senators left the chambers to address the press while plenary was still on.
The 10 senators are Abdullahi Adamu, Nasarawa-APC; Ovie Omo-Agege, Delta-APC; Binta Garba, Adamawa-APC; Ali Wakili, Bauchi-APC; Kurfi Umaru, Katsina-APC and Andrew Uchendu, Rivers-APC.
Others are: Abdullahi Danbaba, Sokoto-APC; Yahaya Abdullahi, Kebbi-APC; Abu Ibrahim, Katsina-APC, and Benjamin Uwajumogu, Imo-APC.
They described the amendment and process of passage as ‘illegal’, vowing that it would not stand.
At a press briefing, Adamu who was flanked by others explained that the Senate President ignored the majority voice in the chambers to sustained minority voice on the controversial issue.
“We are part of the whole body of senators who oppose the process by which the so-called conference report was laid and considered as rushed. I had the opportunity (to speak), I was heard but the Senate President said my observation was being noted.
“The reliance upon the relevant statutes, some of which have actually not been signed to the best of our knowledge, and we did challenge that anybody who has the signed copy should produce it there so as to check doubting Thomases. We believe the process was rushed. There is no need for the rush. Give everybody the opportunity. There is no reason for just two people to speak on the issue. It’s not the tradition of the senate.”
He alleged that the process was pre-determined as even the Chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC did not sign the report.
“We are against what has happened. We are not the only ones. If you take note of the report that was circulated, the chairman and co-chair did not sign. We don’t know why they didn’t sign.
According to him, the change was targetted at President Muhammadu Buhari, saying, it was partisan. He said the Executive will not sign it.
“Why do we want to make a law that addresses one particular issue targeted at a person. This is very partisan. You could see from the body language, from the utterances that it is a pre-determined thing by a political party that is threatened by the APC government. Whatever incumbency given to anyone we are denying that one. We are not part of this endorsement.”
Ovie Omo-Agege, Delta-APC, said the bill would not have been passed if the presiding officer had allowed a division.
He also alleged that the House of Representative did not form a quorum when the issue was considered.
“For some of you who are familiar with what transpired in the House of Reps, only 36 members were on the floor when this so-called amendment to section 25 of the Electoral Act was introduced. The position we took is that 36 people cannot determine the destiny of 360 people in the House, which is now being carried over to 109 in the senate. The least we are owed is for this so-called amendment to be deliberated upon and our rule is clear.
“We have 59 senators who are opposed to the inclusion of section 25 of the Electoral Act. If that division was allowed today, 59 senators would have voted to delete that purported amendment to section 25.”
Binta Garba, Adamawa-APC, said the amendment is not healthy for the current economic situation in the country.