APC Senators reject adoption of electoral Act conference report

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

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Nigerian Senators on the platform of the ruling party APC, on Wednesday staged a walk out from the red chamber, following Senate’s adoption of the conference report on the amended electoral Act 2010.

Senate’s adoption of the report followed the consideration of the report of it’s committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission, on the electoral Act amendment.

However, the aggrieved Senators protested against the action, noting that the adoption of the Conference Committee Report by the Senate was done “in a rush”.

Senator Abdullahi Adamu who led a group of about ten APC Senators said “we are part of a whole of senators that feel very strongly that the process by which the so-called conference committee report was laid and considered as a rush, a deliberate rush,” he stated.

“The reliance upon the relevant statute, some of which have actually not been signed to the best of our knowledge and we did challenge that anyone who had it signed should produce it. This is so as to check doubting Thomas with regards to the authenticity of what statute was been relied upon.

“We believe the process was rushed. Yes, we may rely on some existing statutes or laws rightly or wrongly; but the importance the strategic placing of the bill in question is such that needed no rushing whatsoever. There is no need for the rush, what is right is right,” Senator Adamu added.

Senator Ovie-Omo Agege while justifying the protest, argued that the process by which the adoption of the report was done, was not fully representative.

“This electoral act that is been amended today, is a product of well considered research by the INEC committee in the senate, it went through full deliberation on the floor, it was passed. 36 people in the house of reps cannot determine the faith and the destiny of 360 people in the house which is now carried over in a senate of 109, yes if a conference committee is set up to reconcile the differences, the least we are owed is for this amendment to section 25 to be deliberated upon.”

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Senate committee on the INEC, Senator Suleiman Nazif, later told Journalists that the conference committee which he also Chairs, executed it’s assignment in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.

He also debunked the allegation by his aggrieved colleagues, that the report was not signed by him.

“Let me make it very clear that I have signed on the concurrence committee report. I don’t know where that came from but I signed it. This is it, signed by me (displaying the report) and if you go to the clerk, it is also signed by me.

I am not aware if the sequence of election is being targeted at anybody. What I know is that as Chairman of the Committee on INEC on the Senate I have a responsibility and I chaired the concurrence committee of both the House and the Senate.”

“But politics is dynamic. What I know is that there are reasons for elections, people have different reasons for why elections should start from the top to down and from down to top. In the past, we have had elections from the top to down. I don’t know if anybody questioned that. In the past also, we have also had elections from down to top. I don’t know if anybody questioned that.”

The Senate is optimistic that President Buhari would do the right thing as the adopted report is transmitted to the him for assent.

 

Aisha JM