- There are fears that the inauguration of the 9th Senate may be disrupted by hired thugs
- This is due to the disagreement over the voting pattern to be adopted in the election of presiding officers
- There are also allegations of a grand plan to arrest some senators ahead of the inauguration
A report by Daily Sun indicates that there are fears that the inauguration of the 9th Senate may be disrupted by hired thugs.
According to the report, this is due to the disagreement over the voting pattern to be adopted in the election of presiding officers.
Incumbent Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and his predecessor, Mohammed Ali Ndume, are the top contenders for the Senate presidency.
Both camps are said to be flexing muscles and spoiling for war following a disagreement over the voting pattern to be adopted.
An APC senator loyal to Lawan, who is gunning for a key position in the Senate, said the inauguration might be disrupted if the management decides to adopt the secret ballot method.
His words: “We are going to adopt the open ballot system because that is the standard practice all over the World. The 2015 Rule Book which made provisions for the secret ballot was forged, we must use the 2011 version.
“I cannot guarantee that the event would be peaceful if the management succumbed to the pressures of the current presiding officers of the eight National Assembly by conducting the election through a secret ballot arrangement.”
Countering Lawan’s supporter, Ndume’s loyalist warned that management must adopt the secret voting method to avoid any violent clash on inauguration day.
The senator-elect who also spoke on condition of anonymity said: “The Lawan group are jittery that their candidate would not win if the management adopts the current rule book to conduct the election.
“It is clear to the pro-Lawan senators-elect that some leadership of the APC are trying to force Senate Leader on all of us and we would reject such an imposition.
“We have also learnt that they have planned to use thugs to stop some anti-Lawan senators-elect from entering the National Assembly premises on the day of inauguration.
“We have also established it from good authorities that names of some anti-Lawan senators have been forwarded to the EFCC to be arrested and kept behind bars until after the inauguration.
“We are fully prepared and ready for them. The thugs should stay out of the National Assembly affairs on the inauguration day.”
The Ndume supporter alleged that there was a grand plan to arrest some of his colleagues ahead of the inauguration.
“A ranking PDP senator was invited by the EFCC recently and would have been kept behind the bars until after the inauguration but for the timely intervention of a strong member of the APC who signed his bail conditions.
“The PDP ranking senator was actually invited over the same case that he had earlier defended before the EFCC. A principal officer of the Senate was said to have even approached him that he should openly declare for Lawan so that the EFCC would discontinue with the case,” he said.
Reacting, Senator Sabi Abdullahi who is the spokesman of the Senate and Lawan’s campaign organisation, said they were confident that their candidate will emerge victorious.
He said they have no reason to scuttle the inauguration or resort to use of force or coercion to compel members to vote for Lawan.
His words: “This is news to me. I am just hearing that officials of the National Assembly were invited by the EFCC. But what I can tell is that we are not aware and we have no hand in what you are alleging; that we are using EFCC to harass them to change the rules for us or to harass our colleagues.
“We have been working and our contact and mobilisation committee has reached out to our colleagues. We are taking our campaign serious; we are not taking our chances likely.
“We have no reason to harass anyone or do anything to scuttle the inauguration. We are solidly on ground and working round the clock to deliver our candidate on the day of inauguration. This is our preoccupation and whatever you have been told is not true.
“We are selling Lawan’s strong areas to our colleagues which are integrity, intelligence and capability. We are also selling our agenda to our colleagues to buy into what we intend to do for for the ninth Senate.
“I know that I am part of the outgoing Senate. To be frank, there were so many things we didn’t do right. So, our plan is to ensure that Lawan’s presidency improves on that. These are the issues.
“With what we have done, on the day of inauguration, by the grace of God, we shall carry the day and Lawan will emerge as president of the ninth Senate. No cause for alarm my brother. We are marching forward.”
The Senate has a population of 109 members. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has 44 senators-elect, while it is hopeful that three others would soon join from Zamfara state if the Supreme Court rules in its favour and another one from Imo state, to take the tally to 48. APC has 63 senators-elect while the Young Democratic Party (YDP) has one.
Meanwhile, Senator Lawan on Wednesday, May 15, said his battle for Senate presidency is not a do-or-die affair.
He made the statement when he met with selected journalists in Abuja recently where he also unfolded plans to devote three months to budget consideration if he is elected as the Senate President.
The 60-year old lawmaker said he will ensure the 9th National Assembly returns the nation to January-December budget timeline.
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