Nine Senators fault amendment of election timetable

    Nine senators have rejected the amendment of the timetable for the 2019 elections, calling it a rush job targeted at some people.

    Among the senators are Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa west), Binta Garba (Adamawa north) and Omo Ovie-Agege (Delta central).

    The upper legislative chamber adopted the amended timetable after it considered a conference committee report on Wednesday.

    But the senators opposed to it said the report that was laid and considered in the upper legislative chamber was “done in a rush”.

    Speaking with journalists on Wednesday, Ovie-Agege said the target of the amendment might be President Muhammadu Buhari.

    He said the amendment to section 25 by the house of representatives of which the senate concurred to was not valid.

    “For some of you who are familiar with what transpired in the house of reps, only 36 members were on the floor when this so-called amendment to section 25 of the electoral act was introduced,” he said.

    “The position we took is that 36 people cannot determine the destiny of 360 people in the house which is now being carried over to 109 in the senate. The least we are owed is for this so-called amendment to be deliberated upon and our rule is clear.

    On his part, Adamu said the chairman and the deputy chairman of the INEC committee did not sign the report.

    “We are against what has happened. We are not the only ones. If you take note of the report that was circulated, the chairman and co-chair did not sign. We don’t know why they didn’t sign.

    Faulting the process which the senate used to adopt the report, Ali Wakili, senator representing Bauchi south, said the cost implication of the reordered timetable was not taken into consideration.

    “Why did they wait until after the INEC has come out with timetable? If we look at the cost-benefit to the economy, four elections in one month will be too staggering. It is not well for the economy, politics, and security,” Wakili said.

    “We had inside this chamber considered conference reports and we dissolve into house, look at it clause by clause, raise observations and return it back to the house of reps, why must it be different in this case.”

    Umaru Kurfi, senator representing, Katsina central, said the amendment “is absolutely wrong”.

    Speaking with journalists later, Sabi Abdullahi, spokesman of the senate, said the upper legislative chamber followed its own process to pass the amendment.

    Suleiman Nazif, chairman of the INEC committee, while showing journalists a signed copy of the report, said the senate took the position of the house in some areas such as the amended timetable of the 2019 elections.