Members of the Senate, who are against the impending move to override President Muhammadu Buhari on the Electoral Act 2010 Amendment Bill, are now “over 50,” one of them told SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday.
The senators, who are loyal to Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress, have been collating signatures to counter the move by those pushing for the amendment.
The amendment, among others, seeks to reorder the sequence of polls during a general election.
A new Section 25 of the Electoral Act states that the sequence of the elections will commence with the National Assembly, to be followed by the governorship and state Houses of Assembly, while the presidential poll will come last.
The amendment had, however, polarised the Senate and the APC caucus, especially.
A member of the pro-Buhari group had exclusively told our correspondent that names of those loyal to the President and the party would be published to protect their votes and eject the suspected moles among them.
Those seeking to override Buhari’s refusal to assent the bill are mainly from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, and some APC senators loyal to the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
The source, who had said penultimate week that the pro-Buhari group had “over 40” members, stated that the number crossed 50 as of Wednesday.
According to him, some of those seeking to override the President’s veto had opted out of the plan and joined those against the move.
The lawmaker also claimed that the pro-amendment campaign was losing momentum especially as the Senate had delayed action on the legal advice to ignore the constitutional issues raised by Buhari and continue with the plan to override his veto.
He also recalled that the meeting held by the APC national working committee and the Senate Caucus on Wednesday was one of the moves to discourage the move.
The source said, “The party has reached out to all APC members and some of those who just signed with us are from Saraki’s camp. The elections are coming and they don’t want to be on the wrong side of the party or Buhari. With the number of signatures we have gathered, the other camp can only seek a soft landing and not be confrontational.
“We are over 50 in our camp now. That was the figure on Wednesday. More senators might have signed with us. They have realised that overriding Buhari may not be possible anymore and are now seeking peace and dialogue, especially the APC senators in the other camp.”
Dismissing the claims, the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, challenged the pro-Buhari group to publish the signatures.
“They don’t have over 40; that is a lie. Tell them to publish the signatures. That will be nice. But they don’t have over 40. I can tell you that,” he stated.
Murray-Bruce, a PDP member, described the claims as “a propaganda statement.”