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Masari woos reps to support bill on emergency rule in Ekiti

Posted by From JAMES OJO and ISMAIL OMIPIDAN, Abuja on 2006/10/26 | Views: 461 |

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Masari woos reps to support bill on emergency rule in Ekiti

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Bello Masari, Wednesday held closed door meeting with opposition parties to counter moves against the bill on imposition of emergency rule in Ekiti State by President Olusegun Obasanjo.

•As Senate splits

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Bello Masari, Wednesday held closed door meeting with opposition parties to counter moves against the bill on imposition of emergency rule in Ekiti State by President Olusegun Obasanjo.

This is even as Senate President, Ken Nnamani, has again come under intense pressure reminiscent of the third term era, as the National Assembly today considers President Obasanjo’s request to give legitimacy to the proclamation.

The meeting, which started mid day lasted till about 4.30 p.m, when the Speaker was escorted to his car by the chairman of the Northern Forum, Hon Victor Lar, and some members of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPPP).

Masari had been informed through intelligence reports that the bill might be killed as the members who had indicated to attend the emergency sitting would naturally oppose the bill.

Some, reports said, had criticized the declaration of emergency rule in Ekiti in interviews granted the media.
Section 305(6)(b) of the 1999 Constitution required the National Assembly to approve the presidential proclamation, otherwise, it will lapse.

The Speaker came out of the meeting wearing long faces, after outspoken All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) member, Uche Onyeagocha, stepped out of the Speaker’s office, while he declined comments on what took him to the Speaker’s office.

Yesterday’s meeting, it was gathered, was at the instance of the Presidency to ensure that the Speaker was not alone during debate on the bill, more so, that most principal officers of the House had traveled outside the country.

It was gathered that the group of lawmakers that kicked against the third term agenda under the aegis of 2007 Movement had equally met to perfect strategies to oppose the bill on the ground that it was an extension the third term plot.

But a member from Isoko federal constituency, in Delta state, Hon Leo Ogor, said that the bill would be passed because the action of the president was the best thing for the people of Ekiti State at the point the emergency rule was slammed by the president.

All this is coming on the heels of a marathon meeting summoned by the "2007 Movement," a group of lawmakers that led the struggle against the third term agenda at the National Assembly, to strategise on how to ensure that the emergency rule does not sail through on the floor of the National Assembly.
As at press time, the meeting was still going on.

Daily Sun gathered that while the Presidency has since set machinery in motion to ensure that the President Obasanjo’s action gets the required support to make it sail through, other highly placed Nigerians, especially those who fought the third term agenda, and who are of the view that the impeachment wind currently blowing across the country was another trick for tenure elongation, have equally started making contacts to ensure that, like third term, the emergency rule too does not sail through.

This view was captured by one of the Senators who spoke to Daily Sun on condition of anonymity and who is also a member of the "2007 Movement" when he said "the issue (emergency rule) borders on constitutionality.

The Senate has risen above what one can imagine, especially coming from the third term agenda debate. Nigerians have individually and collectively begun to urge their representatives (at the National Assembly) to rise up again to the occasion.

"There is tremendous pressure from our constituents and well-meaning Nigerians on Senators to uphold the constitution we all swore to upheld. Most Senators are likely to rise up to the occasion rather than do an individual’s bidding. I tell you the thing will not sail through," he added.

However, another Senator who is also a member of the movement told Daily Sun that the emergency rule would sail through in the Senate because the upper chamber according to him, has lost focus.
He argued that "Nigerians have resigned to their fate for divine intervention otherwise there should have been resistance to the madness going on in Nigeria . It will sail through in the Senate because the Senate has lost focus. Even though we know the ‘SP’ (Senate President) is derailing, we have to help him. But unfortunately we (in 2007 Movement) don’t have the required number to save him, to give him that sense of assurance that he need not dance to their (pro-emergency) tune to keep his job, to make him understand that we are capable of protecting him.

"Let me also warn our colleagues who think that only Obasanjo can make them governors and make them return to the Senate that the man is not God. He never knew he would be President when Nigerians made him one. Instead of being grateful, he is busy terrorizing everybody. Those Senators who feel putting personal interest first before national interest may end up loosing everything. If they must be governors, or are interested in coming back, they should move close to God and not Obasanjo. Obasanjo may end up being like another Charles Taylor in Nigeria ," he declared.

But two of the three Senators from Ekiti State who spoke to Daily Sun in separate telephone interviews are of the view that the Ekiti people wholeheartedly support the emergency rule in Ekiti State, with Senator Bode Olowoporoku saying that it would be in the best interest of the Ekiti people for the emergency rule to sail through, because that according to him, appears to be the only way to clear the mess in Ekiti State.
James Kolawole on his part said "General Olurin should be given the opportunity to restore peace and stability to the State. I've consulted widely with the people in my constituency, and they say they have no quarrel with the imposition of a state of emergency on Ekiti State ."

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