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Published On: Wed, Nov 5th, 2014

Automatic ticket: PDP senators threaten to shutdown economy

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Nigerian-Senate-1By Ikechukwu Okaforadi, Patrick Andrew & Umar Muhammad Puma

  •  Caucus to back Tambuwal

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators have threatened to boycott consideration of the 2015 budget and shutdown the economy, if the party leadership refuses to grant them automatic tickets to contest the 2015 general elections on the party’s platform.

This is even as some of the PDP lawmakers, who spoke in confidence to reporters in Abuja shortly after a sudden adjournment of plenary, vowed to boycott further legislative works until their demands are considered by PDP leadership.

They also threatened not to consider or approve the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the 2015 Fiscal Strategy Paper presented to them by President Jonathan if their demands are not met.

As a way to register their displeasure with Jonathan and PDP ahead of the 2015 general elections and to compel the President to address their plights, the lawmakers of the ruling party forced the plenary to adjourn abruptly yesterday within thirty minutes of resumption without treating any of the items listed on the Senate Order paper.

Announcing the adjournment of the plenary, the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, said it was to allow PDP senators attend emergency caucus meeting where matters arising from the recent PDP ward congresses would be discussed.

It would be recalled that during the ward congresses conducted by some state chapters of the party last week, many of the senators, including the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, lost their return bid to the Senate, hence they are infuriated.

Frustrated by this development, the Senators were said to have demanded automatic tickets,as awarded by the PDP to first term governors.

The Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, had moved a motion suspending the business of the day, immediately after the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary read the letter by President Jonathan for the nomination of Okwu Joseph Nnanna for confirmation as the Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Shortly after the adjournment, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu went into a close-door meeting with the aggrieved PDP senators to discuss how to press home their demands for the automatic tickets, after which they resolved to mandate the Senate President, David Mark, to take their grievances to President Jonathan.

It was gathered, that part of their resolutions at the close-door meeting was that they may boycott plenary till further notice, until their demands are met by the party leadership and President Jonathan.

However, one of the senators in the meeting, who did not want to be mentioned, said the senators in the meeting lamented over how the President and the PDP leadership have abandoned them at the mercy of their governors.

He said the PDP senators regretted that majority of their governors have vowed that they would not return to the Senate, even as they accused the governors of having pencilled down those that would succeed them in the Senate.

Consequently, the aggrieved PDP Senate Caucus have said they will not have another option than to declare solidarity to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, who recently dumped the PDP for All Progressives Congress (APC).

According to a senator who spoke on the condition of anonymity, he said “We are going to show solidarity with the Speaker of House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal. We will not sit again. There will be no consideration of the MTEF (Medium Term Expenditure Framework) and there will be no budget.

“We decided to adjourn and do no business and the APC Senators are in solidarity with us. President Goodluck Jonathan has lost the senate, he has left the PDP structures in the hands of the governors, let the governors also do our job. We are going to shutdown the government”, he added.

Another senator also lamented that even before the ward congresses, for about three months, no allowances had been given to them, which he claimed was deliberate by the executive to starve them of funds for the ongoing congresses.

He said, “Under this arrangement, if left unchallenged, none of the senators would come back in 2015. We are planning to boycott legislative businesses until further notice”.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, yesterday made a triumphant entry into the National Assembly Complex guarded by private security personnel, a week after he formally denounced his membership of the ruling Peoples Democratic party (PDP).

Tambuwal, stormed into the Assembly Complex Tuesday amidst persistent rumour that members of the PDP in the House are plotting to reconvene with the sole aim of impeaching him.

The Speaker, who was accompanied by a considerable crowd to the Complex where he declared open a one-day public hearing on a Bill to repeal the Audit Act of 1956, was repeatedly applauded by colleagues and even staff of the National Assembly.

 

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