16 April 2018

Nigeria: Reordered Election Battle - We Can't Be Disbanded - Pro-Buhari Senators

Photo: BusinessDay/Twitter
Nigeria's 2019 presidential election.

Members of the Parliamentary Support Group (PSG) for President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday faulted the Senate's resolution disbanding their association, saying they cannot be intimidated.

PSG was formed as a result of the passage of the amendment made to the 2010 Electoral Act on February 14 this year. The group was against the reordered election sequence said to be targeted at President Buhari.

The Senate on Thursday suspended the secretary of the PSG, Senator Ovie Oma-Agege (APC, Delta) over his remarks that the public perception was that the reordered election sequence was targeted at Buhari. Aside the suspension, the PSG was also proscribed.

Daily Trust gathered that immediately after Oma-Agege was suspended, members of the group met at the National Assembly where they reviewed the proscription of PSG among others.

It was gathered that at the meeting which lasted for about an hour with key members in attendance, they resolved to ignore the proscription and continue with the association. In a phone interview, one of the leaders of the PSG, said their group could not be disbanded.

The senator, who did not want to be named, said five other groups were in existence in the Senate.

"We have five other groups in the Senate. So, why are they saying they have disbanded ours? We have Southern senators' forum, Northern senators forum, APC caucus, PDP caucus and even Northeast caucus. They are all interest groups like ours.

"Ask Saraki, how did he emerge as the Senate President ? Was it not through the like minds group? Why are they after the PSG? Freedom of association is guaranteed by the constitution," he said.

Describing the proscription as unconstitutional, he said they had resolved to go ahead with the group, adding "We are going to meet this week. No going back on this."

Even though Oma-Agege's suspension was hinged on a court case he instituted, it was gathered that his main offence was the collation of signatures against the reordered election. Senators told our correspondent that weeks ago, Oma-Agege moved from one office to another collating signatures for the support of President Buhari's decision.

Buhari had in a letter read on March 13, this year at both chambers of the National Assembly, rejected the amendment made to the Electoral Act, citing constitutional matters.

Weeks ago, the Senate began the move to override the President's action. A bill to that effect sponsored by Senator Nazif Suleiman (APC, Bauchi) has scaled first reading. It is expected to be listed for second reading any time from now.

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