…Pro-Saraki senators to clash with Parliament Support Group
• 20 APC Govs throw weight behind pro- Buhari senators
Presidency urges Senate to lift embargo on nominees’ confirmation
Though the Senate usually speaks with one voice on national issues, a showdown is imminent in the Red Chamber as senators loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari are putting in place certain strategies to neutralise plans by senators loyal to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to override the President on reordering of elections sequence for the 2019 general elections, The Daily Times reports.
Indications to this development emerged as a new Group- Parliament Support Group, emerged to checkmate their colleagues said to be bent on overriding the President’s veto on the repeal of Electoral Act, which re-ordered the sequence of the next elections.
It is apparent that the Senators who are in support of the amendment of the Electoral Act for the reordering of elections and their opposing parties are neck deep in the game of survival ahead of 2019.
The Senate started attracting controversy lately on its resolve to re-order the sequence of election in which case it placed the National Assembly elections, State governors and state Houses of Assembly in front order, while that of the Presidential election comes last.
But some senators opposed the amendment by the Senate led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa) had voiced out their displeasure, stressing that the amendment was targeted at the President.
Adamu is to face the Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition Committee of the Senate on allegation that he and his supporters had subverted the institution of the Senate and may be suspended if found guilty.
Findings by The Daily Times has revealed that already, the Parliamentary Support Group boasts of 46 members, while also mobilising more of their colleagues to gain the strength to neutralise the plot to override the President.
A top ranking senator, who disclosed the formation of the new group to our correspondents , stressed that 20 governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had thrown their weight behind the Parliamentary Support Group on the basis that the plot to override the President on the Electoral Amendment Bill may have an adverse effect on democracy.
Senators, who are in support of the plot to override Buhari on the new Electoral law in the making, requires a two-thirds majority and equal strength of concurrence from the House of Representatives for the plan to sail through.
The anti-Buhari Senators, in this regard need 72 votes from the 108 Senators to stamp their authority on the New Amendment Bill on Electoral Act to override the President, while the Pro-Buhari Senators require only 56 votes to put the plan on hold.
The senator, who sought anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter, disclosed that the arrowheads of the pro-Buhari 20 governors are Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa), Jibrila Bindow (Adamawa), Solomon Lalong (Plateau) and Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo).
The senator further disclosed that the group has the support of about 260 members in the House of Representatives.
The Daily Times learnt that senators from the new group had scheduled a special meeting for today to consider the next line of action after President Buhari had withheld his assent on the Electoral Amendment Bill passed to him, two weeks ago.
The Senate, almost from the start of the ongoing session of democracy, has been taking adversarial stance against President Buhari, and had at a point suspended the confirmation of political appointees from the President for screening.
Meanwhile, in a suave manner to brake the impasse between the Presidency and the Senate on confirmation of government nominees, the Presidency on Monday pleaded with the Senate to reconsider its earlier stance on confirmation of nominees.
The Senate had placed embargo on screening and confirmation of nominees forwarded to it by the presidency since last year on the grounds that the Presidency did not obey its resolution on the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Mr Ibrahim Magu.
While the Senate asked the Presidency to forward a new name to replace Magu, the Presidency insisted that Magu is the best man for the job.
But making the plea on Monday, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters ( Senate) , Senator Ita Enang, during the screening of two nominees for Deputy Governorship positions of the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) and four others as members of the apex bank’s Monitoring Policy Committee ( MPC) by the Senate Committee on Banking , Insurance and other Financial Institutions.
Leading the six nominees to the committee members, Enang urged the Senate to extend its magnanimity on consideration of the nominees to other nominees forwarded to it since last year.
He said, ” I want to on behalf of the executive , thank the Senate for the resolution made last week which paved way for screening exercise of presidential nominees for CBN Deputy Governorship positions and members of the banks Monetary Policy Committee.
” May I on behalf of the executive plead with the Senate to extend its magnanimity on these nominees to other ones already forwarded to it like executives and board members of various agencies”.
But the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim, interjected by saying the gesture given to the CBN nominees was a special one in view of economic implications their non -screening and confirmation may have on the nation’s economy. .
According to him, non confirmation of the nominees by the Senate prevented MPC meeting of the CBN to hold in January and even Monday, January 19.
The reason he said, led to last week Tuesday resolution for screening and confirmation of the nominees for the various CBN positions.
The concerned nominees screened are Mrs Aisha Ahmad from Niger State and Edward Adamu from Gombe State as CBN Deputy Governors .
Others are , Prof Adeola Adenikinju , Dr Aliyu Rafindadi Sanusi, Dr Robert Asogwa and Dr Asheikh Maidugu as members of the apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee .
The Daily Times recalls that the Senate had last year in reaction to remarks made by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo that Magu needed not to be confirmed by the Senate before assuming office in substantive capacity , placed embargo on screening and confirmation of presidenrial nominees for positions in agencies not listed in the constitution