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Senate Steps Down Bill To Include Rotation Of Power In Constitution

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A bill that seeks to include rotation of power among the geopolitical zones in the Constitution was stepped down at the Senate on Tuesday.

The journey of the bill, which started in the Senate on 26 July, was cut short at the second reading stage.

Benue South senator, Abba Moro, who sponsored the legislation, made a decision to step it down after senators argued against the bill and the manner in which it was presented.

Before the bill was withdrawn, Mr Moro referred to the principle of federal character in the Constitution which requires fair and equitable representation of different ethnic and regional groups.

He also noted that for Nigeria, as an ethnic and diverse nation, power rotation can be a veritable tool for national integration, peace and stability.

The legislation, he explained, was not intended for the 2023 general elections “because by the time it runs its full cycle, the elections would have been concluded and for democracy to thrive, it must be adapted to the political realism of its environment.”

Plateau senator, Istifanus Gyang, was the only lawmaker who spoke in favour of the bill which he said seeks to address the management of diversity in the country.

Feelings and sentiments, he added, can be addressed with the existence of such legislation.

“Parties adopt principles of rotation but bringing a statute to formalise it is better,” he said. “Ethnic minorities suffering would as a result of marginalisation, be grateful to the ninth assembly.”

For Bala Na’Allah (APC, Kebbi), the danger of rotation will do great violence to the desire to live as a united country.

The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, noted that the bill is not a constitutional amendment bill and therefore must be represented as such.

“To deprive somebody of the right to run for office through a piece of legislation, contrary to the Constitution, will render that Act, null and void,” he explained.

He would go on to mock senators of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) whom he said were speaking based on sentiments.

If the PDP senators are serious, he said, they should “plead with their presidential candidate to step down so that power can come to the South. Why wait to codify this into law?

Adamu Bulkachuwa (APC, Bauchi North) was arguing against the bill when Mr Moro raised a Point of Order – 42 and announced his decision to withdraw the bill.

He said after listening to the debate from colleagues, he would step down the legislation, make further amendments and represent it in a proper manner on another legislative day.

The proposed legislation comes amid crisis in different political parties arising from disagreement over power rotation.

The gale of defection that hit major political parties like the APC and the PDP, especially at the state and National Assemblies, was essentially because lawmakers disagreed with their state governors who had other candidates to impose or insisted that a candidate from another district be given tickets.

The current crisis at the PDP is based on the demand by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and some southern leaders to balance the lopsidedness in the leadership structure of the party.

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