- Category: Politics
- Published on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 09:21
- Written by Admin
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Senate President David Mark has led Speaker Dimeji Bankole on a peace mission to President Goodluck Jonathan, sources said yesterday.
The goal: to tackle the suspicion between the Presidency and the House over the amendment of the voting method to pick a new speaker of the House.
It was gathered that the peace meeting also covered differences over the 2011 Budget, the House’s cash crisis and some "outstanding" issues.
Jonathan was said to have accepted the olive branch, but he told Bankole to ensure that the amendment of the voting method for the election of the Speaker is reversed.
The President also reportedly insisted on the passage of the proposed amendment to the 2011 Budget before the House winds up.
Once the two conditions are met, the Presidency will step in to rescue the House from its financial crisis, in which some of its members’ allowances are trapped, it was learnt.
Also yesterday, a new group, the National Consensus Forum (NCF), emerged to lead the campaign for the reversal of the amendment of the controversial voting method.
The meeting at the Villa was attended by some members of the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The House, last Tuesday, adopted an Open-Secret voting system, a development which upset the Presidency and the PDP.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: "Mark actually brokered the meeting as a result of pressure from the House, following irreconcilable differences with the Presidency.
"The President also reiterated how he had been bending over backwards to accommodate the House on the 2011 Budget. He insisted that the inflation of the vote by N700billion cannot stand.
"He called for the reversal of the Open-Secret voting amendment and the adjustment of the budget as desired by the Presidency."
Another source, who also pleaded not to be named, said: "The Speaker explained the challenges confronting the House, including the grievances of members, non-payment of outstanding allowances, intimidation and outright blackmail of the House leadership over the controversial N10billion loan and threats from anti-graft agencies.
"The House leadership actually came to beg the President, but it has to fulfil these two conditions before there could be peace.
"Do not be surprised, if in the next few days the House accedes to the President’s request to amend or adjust the 2011 Budget and the Open-Voting system is reversed to the old order."
The battle by the PDP to retain the office of the Speaker in the Southwest continued, with the emergence last night of the NCF.
The group, headed by Hon. Mustapha Khabeeb from Jigawa, has embarked on a signatures collection. More than 70 members have endorsed the register seeking the retention of the zoning formula in the House.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Justice, Henry Seriake Dickson, confirmed the drive to retain the formula.
He said: "So far, 70 members of the House have signed up to retain the zoning formula and we will not rest on our oars in this latest drive.
"We are party men and the PDP has zoned the Office of the Speaker to the Southwest. We have to abide by that.
"It is normal for members from other zones to have grievances, but if we respect our party, we need to toe the party line in as much as it has not hurt national interest.
"The voting is done by individual parliamentarian, but the zoning of offices is the responsibility of the PDP. Since the zoning formula was mutually discussed and adopted at the party level, we have to respect it." (The Nation)