Election reorder: Senator Omo-Agege back downs, apologises to colleagues

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The lawmaker representing Delta Central Senatorial District, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, on Wednesday apologised to the upper legislative chamber over his comments on the amendment of the Electoral Act reordering the sequence of polls during general elections.

Shortly after the passage of the amendment to the 2010 Electoral Act, he and nine others staged a walkout, and told newsmen that the change in the sequence was targeted at Buhari. “You don’t make a law to target one person. The perception is that the law is targeted at the president. I will continue to protest it. I can tell you it will not become a law,” Omo-Agege had said.

At the plenary session on Tuesday, Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi west, raised a point of order to accuse Omo-Agege of denigrating the senate by alleging that the resolution on the amendment was targeted at Buhari.

“To take the decision by the senate and the integrity of the senate put together (and say) that it was tailored to target a particular person, it is unheard of, it is in bad taste and I do not want to be part of that.

“When I was following the president, campaigning and working for him to become the president of this country, Ovie Omo-Agege was labouring in the Labour Party,” he said.

The matter was referred to ethics committee for investigation.

But the Delta senator who defected from Labour Party to the APC, raised a point of order at the plenary on Wednesday to apologise to the chamber and withdrew his comment, disclosing that he realised that some of the things he said were offensive.

“Mr. President, yesterday I wasn’t here, my colleague, my brother, senator Dino Melaye brought a motion under order 14 and 15. That motion arose as a consequence of debate on the sequence of election of the electoral act amendment which was passed at this senate on Wednesday.

“Mr President, in the course of that debate, I did address the press. Mr President, with certain remarks I made in the course of that press interview, which my attention has been drawn to, has been offensive not just to senator Dino Melaye but to the entire senate. I rise today to apologise to the leadership and the entire senate. Mr President, I take back my words.”

On his part, the Deputy Senate President, Ekeweremadu, who presided over plenary, said by apologising, Omo-Agege exhibited courage.

“My view is that it takes courage for a man to say sorry. In the circumstance, especially when the matter has been referred to the committee, what I suggest is that the committee quickly meets with him and then we’ll be able to have the report as quickly as possible so that we’ll be able to take a decision,” he said.

Omo-Agege is one of the nine aggrieved APC senators who stormed out of the chamber on Wednesday when the Senate passed the amendment to the Electoral Act 2010.

Adoption of the report by the Senate and House of Representatives Conference Committee on the Amendment to the Electoral Act had caused a sharp division among the ranks of the APC caucus in the Senate. The dissenting lawmakers are: Senators Abdullahi Adamu, Malam Ali Wakili, Abu Ibrahim, Abdullahi Gumel, Binta Masi, Yahaya Abdullahi, Andrew Uchendu, Umaru Kurfi and Benjamin Uwajumogu.

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