THE relative peace that the Nigerian Senate has been enjoying in the last one year was threatened yesterday, following a rowdy session that erupted at the chamber as senators were sharply divided over a new amendment to the Electoral Act regarding election sequence in the 2019 general elections.
Indeed, 10 All Progressives Congress, APC, senators, who opposed the amendment, which they said was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari, walked out of the chamber to address the press, while the plenary presided by Senate President, Bukola Saraki, was still on. Led by the Chairman of Northern Senators Caucus and former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the 10 senators were peeved that their argument against the bill was truncated at the plenary by Senate President Saraki and vowed that the amendment would not stand.
The aggrieved Nigerian Senate APC senators included Binta Garba (Adamawa); Ali Wakili (Bauchi); Kurfi Umaru (Katsina); Andrew Uchendu (Rivers); Abdullahi Danbaba (Sokoto); Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi); Abu Ibrahim (Katsina); and Benjamin Uwajumogu (Imo). They described the amendment and process of passage as ‘illegal’, vowing that it would not stand, with the leader of the dissenting group, Abdullahi Adamu, questioning the conduct of the Senate President in the process of passage.
This happened on a day the Senate confirmed seven people for appointment as Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. The amended bill places the Presidential election as the last to be conducted, while that of the National Assembly will hold first, followed by governorship and state houses of assembly polls.
The bill has been passed and concurred with by the two chambers of the National Assembly and is in the process of being forwarded to President Buhari for assent. With this arrangement, it is feared in some quarters that President Buhari and other presidential candidates in the 2019 general election may be made to sweat for their election.