A senator, Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) has distanced himself from a group of senators who rejected the proposed election sequence and alleged it was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr. Melaye questioned the claim on Tuesday while reacting to a colleague’s statement on Channels TV.
The senator accused Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) of reiterating on a national TV that the decision taken by the Senate was targeted at Mr. Buhari.
Last week, a group of senators from the APC rejected the Senate adoption of the conference committee report on amendment to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Act.
Specifically, the senators said they were opposed to the amendment to section 25 of the Act which re-arranged the order of Nigeria’s general elections.
The House of Representatives was first to amend the Electoral Act to change the order of the general elections, putting the election of federal lawmakers first before those of state lawmakers and state governors, and the presidential election last.
The aggrieved senators, 10 in number, left the chambers to address the press while plenary was still on.
The senators are Abdullahi Adamu, Nasarawa-APC; Ovie Omo-Agege, Delta-APC; Binta Garba, Adamawa-APC; Ali Wakili, Bauchi-APC; Kurfi Umaru, Katsina-APC and Andrew Uchendu, Rivers-APC.
Others are Abdullahi Danbaba, Sokoto-APC; Yahaya Abdullahi, Kebbi-APC; Abu Ibrahim, Katsina-APC, and Benjamin Uwajumogu, Imo-APC.
They described the amendment and process of passage as ‘illegal’, vowing that it would not stand.
A leader of the dissenting group, Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa-APC), questioned the conduct of the senate president, Bukola Saraki, in the passage process.
The senators also claimed that the change in the sequence of elections was targeted at President Buhari and accused the senate president of breaching the senate standing order by ruling out points of order and not allowing members to contribute before the passage.
Coming under order 14 on Tuesday, Mr. Melaye said he was heavily disturbed as the aftermath of the resolution adopted by the senate last week had a ‘serious effect’ on him, as a politician.
“Mr. President, President Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not only my party man, but is also a man we all labored and voted for.
“Mr. President, my brother and colleague, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, addressed the media and I saw it on Channels and NTA last week, where he said the decision taken by this senate is targeted at Mr. President.
“I cannot be part of a group or group of persons; I swore an oath on the 9th of June 2015, with a Bible on my right hand and the Constitution of the Federal Republic on my left. And I swore that I was going to do good to all manner of men including the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“If decisions in this senate is now being teleguided and targeted at any particular person, then that is no longer democracy. That statement, to me, is wary. I personally campaigned and followed the president to 35 states of the federation; the only state I did not follow him to is Yobe State, where we didn’t even go to campaign.
“Mr. President, when I was campaigning with the president, Ovie Omo-Agege was busy laboring in Labour Party. Today, to take the integrity of the senate and say that it was tailored towards targeting a particular person, it is unheard of, it is in bad taste and I do not want to be part of that.
“This among other statements was made by Omo-Agege. I want to ask that the Committee on Ethics and Privileges investigate this matter and find out if truly our decision was targeted at the president, among other issues raised by him.
“I think I will want to state categorically that I will not be part of any group of decisions that will be targeted at any particular character talk less of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided at the session, thereafter, referred the matter to the Committee on Ethics and Privileges to investigate and report back in two weeks.
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