By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Ahead of tomorrow’s kick-start of the process of overriding the presidential veto of Electoral Act Amendment Bill in the Senate, the Presidency has launched a carrot and stick approach to break the ranks of federal lawmakers.
The move is in the face of the surge of support for the veto override by governors and the lawmakers’ resort to technical points to enhance their chances of overriding the presidential veto.
The carrot being waved to the lawmakers, a source disclosed last night, included monetary offers of $50,000 and $30,000 respectively to senators and House members willing to back out of the planned process of overriding the veto.
Besides the financial offers, automatic tickets are also said to be part of the package for those willing to support the Presidency.
The stick, which is also being waved, is to threaten the lawmakers with petitions before anti-graft agencies with expedited prosecutions.
Also part of the stick is the plot to divide the leadership of the chambers, part of which a source in the National Assembly disclosed, necessitated the establishment of Special Investigative Panel that has dragged Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, to court over alleged non-disclosure of assets.
“Part of the plot is to damage Ekweremadu in a way to make Saraki (Senate President) fear and walk away from what the Presidency sees as a PDP plot. That is why they could not wait for the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which should normally handle cases of assets declaration,” a source familiar with the developments said.
It was also gathered that as part of dividing the leadership of the National Assembly that there have been recent covert and overt attempts by the Presidency to woo Saraki, but the attempts have met with little success.
Those orchestrating the plan to frustrate the veto override, according to a source, see their move as an attempt to save the President from embarrassment and are led by two northern governors and a formidable minister from the south.
Senate begins veto override tomorrow
The momentum for the override of President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill commences tomorrow in the Senate, with federal lawmakers getting the nudge on from many first-term governors.
The Senate is taking the first reading of the bill tomorrow in a process, Vanguard gathered, is said to be a done deal.
Though lawmakers have been working on mobilising two-thirds of the total members of the whole House, Vanguard learned at the weekend that uncertainty about that might have compelled them to go level by adopting the strict provision of the constitution.
In actualising their quest, the lawmakers are putting their aspiration on overriding the veto on strict interpretations of Sections 56 and 58 of the constitution, which in their view do not stipulate the need for all members of the House to be counted in overriding a presidential veto.
Govs abandon Buhari
Meanwhile, contrary to insinuations that governors would back President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue, Vanguard has learned that majority of the governors are in favour of the override as they do not want their elections to come after that of the president.
“The governors are with us on this,” a high-level source in the National Assembly said, weekend.
The governors, it was gathered, are afraid that should the president’s election come first that he could work against those who are not in his good books.