Jonathan, PDP NWC trying to placate rebellious senators

Jonathan, PDP NWC trying to placate rebellious senators

Thursday, November 6, 2014 1:52 pm

Ayorinde Oluokun/Abuja

President Jonathan:  trying to appease senators

President Jonathan: trying to appease senators

President Goodluck Jonathan and members of the National Working Committee of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP are still trying to work out an appeasement formula for the caucus of the party in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.

PDP Senators had on Tuesday and Wednesday refused to allow proceedings in the upper chamber of the National Assembly to go on in protest over the outcome of last Saturday’s Ward Congresses of their party held across the country.

The Senators had feared that with the election of loyalists of their State Governors as delegates in the Congresses, their chances of return to the National Assembly have become very slim.

Their fears were further heightened with the interest shown by about 15 PDP Governors to contest senatorial positions in the 2015 elections.

This will imply that they will have to displace at least one sitting senator from their States to realise their ambition.

In the same vein, some of the Governors are also propping up their friends and loyalists to contest for Senatorial and House of Representatives seats.

The ambition of the Governors has been a source of friction between them and the lawmakers from their states in the past few weeks.

But the result of the last Saturday’s Ward Congresses have confirmed the fears of the lawmakers that President Jonathan and the NWC of PDP had indeed handed over the structures of the party across the States to the Governors to enable them perfect their wish of ensuring they and their cronies emerge candidates of the party for various positions in the 2015 elections.

President Jonathan and the PDP NWC, had reportedly acceded to the demands of the Governors to be allowed to control the structure of the party in their States as a reward for the adoption of the President as the sole presidential candidate of the party. But the PDP Senators seemed determined not to go down without fighting.

Senator David Mark

Senator David Mark

On Tuesday, the Senators had promised to ensure that they frustrate the passage of the 2015 budget as well as the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB among others, in retaliation for the preference they believed the President has been giving to issues concerning the governors.

The PDP Senators are particularly miffed that while they have always gone out of their way to support the President whenever there are issues against the administration in the National Assembly, Jonathan has failed to reciprocate the gesture.

To show that they are serious with their threats, the Senators forced Senate President David Mark to adjourn the sitting yesterday amidst protests from APC lawmakers as they ensured that Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, did not table any issue for discussion before seeking to adjourn sitting till next Tuesday.

The Senate President said the adjournment was in solidarity with their colleagues in the House of Representatives, over the withdrawal of the security personnel attached to the office of Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.

But the issue of Tambuwal, we gathered is just another platform the PDP Senators want to latch upon to get their party to do their bidding.

The PDP lawmakers, it was gathered, are ready to join their colleagues in the House of Representatives to frustrate any move to remove the Speaker for defecting to APC except President Jonathan put pressure on the party to give them automatic tickets that will ensure their return to the red chamber.

Some of the Senators are even threatening to join the Reps to commence impeachment proceedings against the President if there is a need to do so.

The Senators went into closed door meeting in one of the Senate Committee rooms after Wednesday’s adjournment.

“I am sure you are aware that PDP caucus met yesterday and today (Tuesday and Wednesday) on fundamental issues affecting democracy in Nigeria arising from the ward congress of our party last Saturday.

“The issues need to be addressed very urgently by relevant PDP stakeholders in the interest of our democracy. You will all surely be briefed when the issues are addressed,” Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma – Egba, told journalists after the meeting on Wednesday.

But it was gathered that the leadership of PDP was jolted by the open rebellion of the Senators against the party and the President.

The ruling party, it was learnt was particularly afraid that APC may latch on the crisis to its detriment if it is not immediately nipped in the bud.

In a move to douse the tension, the PDP NWC and President Jonathan, it was gathered summoned the Senators led by Senator David Mark to a meeting on Wednesday night.

It was gathered that different concessions were considered as a way of getting the Senators to back out from their current belligerent position.

One of the concessions, it was gathered was to convince PDP Governors to allow at least two senators from their states return to the senate in 2015.

In the arrangement, governors who intend to contest election into the senate would also be given the ticket. It was not clear if the Governors will be disposed to this arrangement which will be unveiled to them at a meeting of the party which is yet to be scheduled.

But it was gathered that the PDP governors will be convinced that their move to sack all the Senators would only allow the lawmakers defect to the APC,which is ready to offer them free tickets.

This, they will argue may result in APC gaining control of the two chambers of the National Assembly even before the 2015 election.

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