Jonathan, PDP Approve Automatic Tickets For 40 Senators

President Goodluck Jonathan and leaders of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have resolved to grant automatic tickets to at least two serving senators from each of the states of the federation where it has senators to douse the growing tension in the Senate over 2015 elections.

About 40 senators are to benefit from this decision, it was learnt last night.

Senators elected on the platform of the party had on Tuesday commenced a work to rule, whereby all government businesses on the order paper were jettisoned.

The meeting, involving President Jonathan, the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, and the senators elected on the party’s platform, was originally fixed for Wednesday night, but it could not hold because the president returned late from his trip to Burkina Faso.

Sources said that the meeting, which started at about 8.00 p.m., lasted till the early hours of Friday with resolution of issues on a state-by-state basis.

It was confirmed that at least two senators from each state would be allowed to return in 2015.

The source said further that the president had directed the party’s chairman and the Senate President, David Mark, to see to the implementation of the decision.

A lawmaker from the North-West told Saturday Tribune that the meeting resolved rifts in states, including Abia, Bauchi, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Plateau, Niger, Kogi, Benue, Cross River, Taraba, Delta, Bayelsa, Enugu and Adamawa.

Sources also said that issues in Edo, Ondo and Oyo states were resolved at the meeting.

In Oyo State, the senator representing Oyo North District, Hosea Agboola and his counterpart representing Oyo Central, Ayo Adeseun, have been cleared to return to the Senate.

It was also gathered that the meeting resolved that the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, got the nod to return to the Senate.

In Abia, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and Senator Uche Chukwumerije, who represent Abia South and North respectively, have been told to return to the Senate in 2015.

In Imo State, it was gathered that Senator Hope Uzordinma was given the go-ahead to pick the Senate form, while Senator Chris Anyanwu has indicated interest in the governorship seat.

While a previous meeting between President Jonathan and the Enugu State governor, Sullivan Chime, as well as Senator Ekweremadu, had resolved the knotty issues within the state PDP, it was learnt that another meeting involving the president and Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State, accompanied by Senator Barnabas Gemade, also resolved the crisis rocking the state chapter of the party.

Suswam and Gemade were locked in a battle over who picks the Senate slot in 2015, but sources said that the meeting had resolved that Gemade be allowed to return to the Senate.

It was also confirmed that in Kogi State, the meeting adopted Senators Smart Adeyemi and Ata Aidoko for a return to the Senate, while more discussions are to be held with Governor Idris Wada on the fate of the third senator, Nurudeen Abatemi.

With the development, at least 40 PDP senators may return to the Senate by the end of 2015 elections.

Sources at the meeting told Saturday Tribune that the president told the senators that he was in favour of returning all of them, but it was difficult to do so because of contending factors.

He was quoted as saying that some of the senators had indicated interest in other offices but it would be good to have a number of experienced lawmakers in the chamber.

Senator Mark, who also spoke at the meeting, assured the president that the senators had remained loyal to the party and the party needed to protect them at this point.

It was learnt that the party resolved to put machinery in motion in all states whose issues had been resolved and consider adopting the candidates without competitive primaries.

“The party recognises the need to have experienced lawmakers on the floor so that the business of government would not suffer as people will not have to take a long time understanding bills and motions.

“It is also good for the nation that we retain a set of institutional memories in the legislature at all times,” the source said.

A source at the meeting told Saturday Tribune that the senators who spoke at the meeting asked the party to be wary of returning a large number of governors to the Senate because the record of many of them currently in the senate was not encouraging.

“We advised the party that it should be careful in sending many governors to the Senate because many of those serving currently only come to take tea and go. Their attendance is so poor and we don’t want the Senate to turn into a retirement spot,” the source said.

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