APC, PDP senators set to clash over ‘polls militarization’

Senators from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and those of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are set for a showdown over alleged militarization of the recently conducted general elections.

A motion on the matter, to be sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye (PDP, Kogi), would be debated during the lawmakers’ sittings between Tuesday and Thursday, next week.

Melaye had sought the relief of the Senate to present the motion during the next legislative day, but he faced serious opposition from members of the APC.

Melaye, who introduced himself as both serving and senator-elect, said: “I want to bring a motion on the elections held on February 23 and March 9 for this parliament to discuss.

“The militarization of the elections shouldn’t be allowed to go like that. This Senate needs to discuss it so that the president will be advised appropriately,” he said.

Immediately after Melaye’s submission, Senate President Bukola Saraki put it into voice votes, but the majority of the senators, most of whom are APC members, opposed it.

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However, Saraki noted that going by Senate rules, such motion only needed one-fifth of the senators hence he quietly ruled that the motion would be taken during the next legislative day.

But Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe), said majority of senators did not hear Saraki’s ruling on the motion, to which the senate president said it was agreed the motion would be taken next legislative day.

Not satisfied, Deputy Senate Leader Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC, Kebbi), raised a point of order noting that “technically, there was no motion on the floor of the senate because Dino introduced himself as a senator-elect.”

Saraki, however, intervened, saying all the concerns raised by the APC senators would be taken care of during the debate on the motion, saying “If it’s going to be partisan, we’ll take care of that.

“We’ll make sure that we discuss this at the leadership (level) before bringing it to the floor,” he said.

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But Barau Jibrin (APC, Kano) came through Order 73 of the Senate Rules, calling for a division on the matter since it was not clear which group had a majority during the voice votes. Saraki, however, cautioned that the senate rules and processes should not be abused.