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Reps set for showdown on tenure elongation

Members of the House are billed to reconvene tomorrow after embarking on a 5-week break in preparation for the earlier scheduled February polls.Some members of…

Members of the House are billed to reconvene tomorrow after embarking on a 5-week break in preparation for the earlier scheduled February polls.
Some members of the House who spoke to Daily Trust yesterday alleged that although Jonathan had said that the May 29 hand-over date is “sacrosanct” plans were afoot to come up with a request based on Section 135 of the constitution so that the National Assembly would extend elections for six months, thereby extending Jonathan’s tenure.
One of the lawmakers told our reporter on phone that some of his colleagues had already started making moves to create an enabling environment for such a request to scale through but added that “we won’t allow that to happen.
“I can tell you that some of their foot-soldiers among my colleagues have started working towards that. About three people called me this afternoon on this issue, saying we should support it,” said the lawmaker, who pleaded not to be named.
The lawmaker said part of the plan was to woo members with financial inducements “since some of us did not get return tickets, while others are saying that they’ve spent a lot of money during the campaigns, so the six months additional period will give them time to recoup their money.
“My tenure ends on May 29, because that is the mandate given to me by my people. I won’t take part in any illegality, although I have my return ticket,” saying “it’s really a dicey situation we may find ourselves,” he added.
Another lawmaker said no matter the amount of money that might be given, “we will not allow some selfish individuals to truncate our democracy.”
Similarly, House spokesman Zakari Mohammed told Daily Trust on phone that as they reconvene tomorrow, they would do everything possible to see that the new elections dates were adhered to, saying they would not approve any extension.
He said: “Budget will be part of our main focus, but there is need for us to invite all the relevant agencies so that we’ll hold them responsible.”
Asked if the House would endorse polls shift outside May 29, Mohammed said “it’s not possible. Nigeria is not anybody’s estate that they’ll change the rules in the middle of the game. The May 29 date is sacrosanct. We’ll invite all the agencies involved so that there won’t be another shift. It’s not possible to postpone again; we won’t accept that.”
“Let’s see the rationale for that. Let’s listen to them, but it’s not attractive at all. Whoever that wants to bring any extension now must explain to us the reasons behind that,” said Rep Bimbo Daramola (APC, Ekiti).
“It supposed to be a collective decision. So we are waiting. How can tenure elongation be made when the present administration needs to hand over? The issue is that I am representing my people, once matters like this are tabled, you are allowed to consult your constituency. Your constituents’ decision on the matter will determine your position in the House,” said Rep Jerry Mamwe (SDP, Taraba).

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