Electoral bill veto: 54 senators sign up to back Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari appears to be holding all the aces in his battle of wits with the National Assembly on the sequence of elections in the country.

Fifty-four Senators have signed to abort plan by the legislature to override the President’s veto of the amendment to the Electoral Act on the order of elections.

This is 17 more than the 37 he requires to stop the threat by the Senate leadership to override the veto.

Also showing support for the President in the battle of wits are State governors elected on the platform of the party.

Twenty-one of them met secretly again in Abuja on Thursday night to review the situation.

The APC governors’ meeting took place at a residence in the Asokoro part of Abuja, according to sources.

The agenda included how to end the crisis of confidence between the Presidency and the National Assembly; mobilizing support for the President’s Veto of some bills especially the 2018 Budget and the new order of elections; ensuring reconciliation and stability in APC and preparation for 2019 poll.

A governor, who spoke in confidence, said: “We met to put our acts together on how to increase support for the President in the National Assembly. There has been a lot of misrepresentation of the administration of Buhari.

“We have had enough of being a stranger in our own government. We want to reach out to the members of the National Assembly from APC to the Peoples Democratic Party, All Progressives Grand Alliance, Accord Party and others.

“We are lobbying members of the National Assembly on how to put the nation above personal interest.”

The source said they were “doing a lot of stock taking towards 2019 poll,” and expressed confidence about “defeating PDP irrespective of misgivings by the opposition.”

He alleged plans by some “forces outside our party to create APC factions in nine key states we are controlling.”

He accused a coalition group of engineering the plot.

He said:”The breakup of APC was to begin in Kaduna and we resisted it. Some external forces were behind what Senator Hunkuyi and others attempted.

Another source at the meeting said: “We will ensure we go all out to seek peace and support the newly formed Parliamentary Support Group in the National Assembly.

“But where the hostility continues against this administration, we will certainly launch a counter-offensive.”

A third governor simply said: “We will henceforth show more than a passing interest in the activities of the National Assembly.

“Some members of the National Assembly have genuine grudges on being sidelined but we are addressing the challenges behind the miscommunication between the presidency and the lawmakers.

“We had the session to serve as a united front against plans to slow down this administration through legislative politics.”

On the proposal to raise an 11-man Inner Caucus Committee, a governor from the North-West said: “It is a welcome development but we will not take chances again. We won’t take unnecessary risk again.”

It was gathered last night that eight more Senators had decided to oppose the plot to override the President’s veto on amendments to the Electoral Act.

Findings confirmed that overall 54 Senators have signed against overriding of the President’s veto on amendments to the Electoral Act.

A source said: “Initially, we were 46 Senators opposed to the overriding the veto of the President but eight more of our colleagues have joined us resulting in 54 votes.

“Although we need 37 votes to resist the plot against President Buhari, we are in a comfortable position with 54 Senators.”