OrderPaperToday – The passage of the Conference Committee report on the amendment of the electoral act in the Senate caused division among members of the upper chamber on Wednesday.

Shortly after the report of the Conference Committee was adopted in the Senate amidst dissenting voices in the chamber, ten APC senators lead by Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa) left plenary and staged a press conference.

The other 9 Senators are: Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta), Binta Garba (APC, Adamawa), Ali Wakili (APC, Bauchi), Kurfi Umaru (APC, Katsina), Andrew Uchendu (APC, Rivers), Abdullahi Danbaba (APC, Sokoto), Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi), Abu Ibrahim (APC, Katsina), Benjamin Uwajumogu (APC, Imo)

Speaking at the Press Conference, Senator Adamu described the amendment to section 25 of the electoral act relating to election sequence as unconstitutional, partisan, and targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, certain forces were trying to deny the ruling APC the privileges of incumbency and questioned why the amendment was ‘passed in a rush.’

“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 and the utterances that it is a pre-determined thing by a political party that is threatened by the APC government.

“Whatever incumbency gives to anyone we are being denied. We are not part of this,” he declared.

Another senator, Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta) claimed that 59 senators were against the bill while alleging that only 36 honourable members were present when the bill was passed by the House of Representatives.

The other eight senators who spoke took turns to kick against the adopted report and vowed that it will not become law or see the light of the day. The group also displayed a copy of the report which showed that the report was not signed by some members of the Conference Committee including the Co-Chairmen, Senator Suleiman Nazif (APC, Bauchi) and Honourable Edward Pwajok (APC, Plateau).

Shortly after the conclusion of the press conference, another press briefing was organised by the Spokesperson of the Senate, Sabi Abdullahi and Chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Suleiman Nazif where most of the issues raised by the Adamu-led group of Senators were either debunked or downplayed.

Senator Nazif denied not signing the document and brandished his own copy which contained his signature and he further explained that the Committee had done its job of harmonising the versions of the House and the Senate.

He also explained that it was not the first time National Assembly elections were coming first, citing an example of 1979 elections and maintained that it was not targeted at anyone.

Also speaking at the press conference, the Senate Spokesperson, Senator Sabi explained why the Senate adopted the position of the House in relation to election sequence.

“Our rules says any position we are taken and there is a similar one in the House, we harmonise but were the House has taken a position we have not taken, we are bound to adopt that of the House,” he said.

Senator Sabi also clarified that it was not the duty of the Senate to query the number of Honourables present when the amendment bill was passed in the House, stressing that such will amount to “casting aspersions on the position adopted by its sister chamber.”

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Damilola Zebulun Adeniran
Damilola is a multiple award-winning Writer, Researcher, and Community/Sustainable Development Practitioner. His interests and experience span across media, academics, human capital development, and strategic planning. Damilola is a Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellow. He is the first Nigerian in history to win the blog4dev writing contest organised by the World Bank Group. Also, Damilola's written work on violent extremism and sustainable peace in Nigeria won a PeaceWriteNow prize, presented by the Embassy of Ireland in June, 2018. His works have been published in Nigeria and the United States of America, in English and in French. Damilola has also attended important meetings within and outside the African continent including the 2019 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C, USA and the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA) Marketplace in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. He was also a special guest on a panel discussion titled “How creative industry can help to stem fragility,” which was held at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington, D.C, USA. Furthermore, Damilola was selected as a Champion of Advocacy against extreme poverty and preventable diseases by ONE Campaign in May, 2019. An alumnus of the prestigious Lagos Business School and Federal University of Technology Akure, Damilola Adeniran represents Nigeria in the Youth Transforming Africa Program.

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