Saturday, October 16, 2021

Suspension looms for 10 Senators that staged walk-out over elections order

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Shola Shittu
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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Ten senators are facing sanctions over their stand on the amendment of the Electoral Act. They may be suspended.

The controversial amendment that reordered the sequence of elections, placed the Senate and the House of Representatives elections first, followed by governorship and House of Assembly.

The last on the list will then be the presidential election.

Following the adoption of the conference report on the amendment, 10 senators kicked, describing it as “unconstitutional” and “an attempt in futility”.

The Nation reported that, on Tuesdau, the upper chamber mandated its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate alleged unsubstantiated comments credited to Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central) and nine others on the issue.

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The Senate said that Mr Omo-Agege and nine senators claimed that “reordering of the election sequence was done to target President Muhammadu Buhari, ahead of the 2019 general elections.”

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The nine other senators are: Abdullahi Adamu, Abu Ibrahim, Benjamin Uwajumogu, Ali Wakil, Abdullahi Gumel, Binta Masi Garba, Yahaya Abdullahi, Andrew Uchendu and Umaru Kurfi.

The plan to probe the conduct of the senators followed the adoption of a motion of by Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) on the issue.

Mr Melaye said Senator Omo-Agege and others misled Nigerians by claiming that the target of the amendment was President Buhari.

The Kogi West senator, who cited Order 14 of the Senate Standing Rules, prayed his colleagues to refer the matter to the Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions committee to investigate the claims made by the 10 senators.

Mr Melaye said: “I am heavily worried. President Muhammadu Buhari is not only my party man. He is a president we all laboured to vote for. My colleague, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, addressed the media last week.

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“He said the decision taken by this Senate is targeted at President Buhari. I cannot be part of any group of persons to move against the President. The allegations are weighty. I followed President Buhari to 35 states of the Federation during the campaigns.

“When I was following the President round the country, Omo-Agege was in the Labour Party. To now allege and put the integrity of the Senate under check that the amendment was tailored towards the President is unheard of. It is in bad taste.

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“I want to ask that this statement made by Omo-Agege, among other statements, be investigated by the committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions. They need to find out if our actions were targeted at the President. Another interview was granted by the same senator.”

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Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided, subjected the prayer to a voice vote. It was carried.

In March 2017, it could be recalled, Mr Melaye raised a point of order against Mohammed Ali Ndume for alleged unsubstantiated claim on the purchase of exotic cars for the Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, and alleged certificate forgery by him (Melaye).

Mr Ndume was hurriedly investigated and eventually suspended for six months.

The implication of referring Omo-Agege’s comments to the Ethics committee is that if the committee is able to establish that the claims by Omo-Agege and nine others are false, the lawmakers may be suspended.

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