By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor & Tordue Salem.
The Senate has reached a deal with the leadership of the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP over the controversial bid by federal lawmakers to insert themselves in the National Executive Committees of registered political parties.
Under the deal brokered between the PDP National Chairman, Dr. Okwesileze Nwodo and the Senate leadership, one Senator and one member of the House of Representatives from each state would be included in the NEC of the political parties.
Vanguard gathered from reliable sources in the National Assembly that the Senate would pass an amended version of the bill reflective of the deal with Nwodo next Tuesday.
House admits fiasco
The deal nonetheless, the House of Representatives yesterday admitted a fiasco in the passage of the Electoral Act amendment bill by the House on Wednesday. The bill which was erroneously passed by only 30 of the 360 members in attendance will now follow through regular procedure for passage on Tuesday.
Deputy Speaker of the House, Alhaji Usman Nafada, who presided, had circumvented House procedures to raise a 7-man committee to reconcile the House version of the bill with that of the Senate.
In admission of the irregularity, Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Rep. Ita Enang, said the bill would be formally passed on Tuesday.
Nwodo who personally expressed the party’s opposition to the bill, Vanguard learnt, subsequently reached a deal with the Senate to water down the proposal.
“Yes we have reached an agreement with the party leadership and we will pass Nwodo’s version when we meet again on Tuesday,” a ranking senator told Vanguard yesterday.
He said the Senate and the House would subsequently meet to agree on a united version. Under the deal, the members of NEC from the two Houses of the National Assembly would not exceed 84.
Mixed up explained
Explaining the mix up in the Wednesday sitting that led to reports in some newspapers that the House had passed the controversial bill, Enang said yesterday that the votes and proceedings of a clause-by-clause consideration of a report on the Bill must be adopted by lawmakers, then read for the third time on an allotted day.
However, in breach of the process, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Rep. Nafada who presided over the Wednesday evening session set up 7-man conference committee to work with the Senate on the matter.
Enang who directs the legislative business of the House, said the Report to amend section 87(4) of the Electoral Act, 2006 among several other sections, will be read for the third time next Tuesday before it will be considered passed.
He nonetheless raised eyebrows on the legal weaknesses of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, which he said, even if passed, would be impotent against political parties.