Senators of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) again on Wednesday adjourned plenary minutes after they started the day’s sitting in a bid to press home their demand for an automatic ticket in 2015 parliamentary election.
- The campaign for the automatic ticket started on Tuesday
- Senators ended plenary almost immediately they began for the day
- Most of them failed to win their councils in congress held last weekend
- President Jonathan had asked the National Working Committee to hand over state’s structures of the party to the governors
- The Senators said they will not deliberate on Executive Bills if their requests were not met
- Opposition lawmakers condemned the PDP Senators’ decision
The lawmakers started their campaign on Tuesday when they jettisoned the Order Paper, the document containing the legislative schedule for the day, after starting preliminaries.
They hinged their demand on what they called “President Goodluck Jonathan’s insistence on handing over all political structures in the states to the executive governors”.
Most of the PDP senators lost in the PDP ward congresses held in the 774 local councils in Nigeria last weekend.
The few who outwitted their state governors and won at the congresses run the risk of the cancellation of the result following a directive by President Jonathan, asking the National Working Committee of the ruling PDP to hand over the structures of the party in the states to the governors.
Plan to frustrate executive bills
This development did not go down well with the lawmakers, hence their insistence on automatic return tickets.
At the close of the brief plenary on Tuesday, the PDP Senate caucus met for a few hours, but resolved not to make known the outcome of their meeting.
However, some, who preferred not to be named, told reporters that they had vowed to frustrate Executive Bills sent to the Senate for consideration throughout the remainder of the 7th National Assembly which ends in June next year.
They insisted that even the 2015 budget and some other Executive Bills, pending before the legislative chamber, would not be considered.
The entire scenario replicated itself on Wednesday after which the Senate President, David Mark, who was not at plenary on Tuesday because he was at the National Council of State meeting that was held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, summoned another meeting of the PDP Senate caucus to deliberate on the matter.
Although, there was no official briefing after the second caucus meeting of the ruling party’s Senators, the Senate Majority Leader, Victor Ndoma Egba, told reporters that the meetings were to iron out certain sensitive national issues.
“The meetings discussed very important issues that affect the parliament and the people of Nigeria. And the meeting is still ongoing. We’ll give details of the outcome whenever we finish meeting,” he insisted.
Contravention of fundamental rights
But the continued partial sitting does not go down well with some Senators of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC who said they were not justifying the purpose for which they were elected.
Senator Babafemi Ojodu, APC Ekiti State, said the members of the opposition were not pleased that the lawmakers are not sitting.
“This is a contravention of fundamental rights as lawmakers. It is a wastage of the tax payers’ money and I wish we could get the requisite number to convene the plenary, our members would have done that,” he said in a brief interview after plenary on Wednesday.
The senate adjourned plenary till Tuesday next week.