Credible sources have revealed that Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, are set to ditch the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and join former President, Olusegun Obasanjo’s Coalition Movement.
Recall, that the “Third Force” coalition anchored by Obasanjo is set to be launched on January 3o, 2019. The aim of the coalition is to take over power in 2019.
This came on the heels of the National Assembly’s move to amend the order of arrangement of the forthcoming 2019 elections.
Sources disclosed that the Presidency was shocked by the amendments, and considers them a deliberate ploy by the Leaders of the National Assembly, to influence the upcoming polls.
The fear in the Presidency, is that the bandwagon effect of the first set of elections into the National Assembly could affect the other elections.
Under the current order, the reverse is the case, as the outcome of the Presidential election in particular, has a bandwagon effect on the Governorship and State Assembly elections.
Speaking on the amendments passed by the House, a Lawmaker explained that the Presidency had expected that the Lower Chamber would have gone the way of the Senate with the amendments.
“The Presidency had expected the House to go the way of the Senate, which made its own amendments to the Electoral Act since early last year.
“The amendments by the House are considered suspicious, because of the bandwagon effect of elections in this part of the world.
“If the PDP for instance, wins the majority seats in the National Assembly, that momentum could affect other elections, and voters may not be so inclined to vote for another party.
“So there is a fear that it is the deliberate handwork of the Senate President and the Speaker”, the Lawmaker who preferred not to be named, said.
Another source in the National Assembly stated that with growing concerns, Saraki and Dogara may defect to another party, the amendments may have been deliberate.
“Remember that there are already moves to see to the impeachment of Saraki, who they fear may be planning to move to another party to actualise his Presidential or even Senate ambition, and Dogara may not be able to retain his seat under the APC also, as he is at war with the Governor of his State.
“So, the fear is that the two men may move together to another party, which is being tagged the ‘Third Force’, anchored by Obasanjo, and the amendment may have the impact of helping that ‘Force’ win more seats”, the source explained.
“As it is, the Senate has set up its Conference Committee, to harmonise the two versions (Senate and House amendments), but in the Presidency, the feeling is that the Committee would go with the House’s amendments.
“And this will put the President on a spot if he declines to sign, as he may be perceived to be against free and fair elections, even though he has been a beneficiary”, the source added.
He noted that even if President Muhammadu Buhari decides to veto the Legislation when passed, the National Assembly would most likely override his veto, making the amendment to the Electoral Act a fait accompli.
The source however, clarified that the discomfort in INEC stems from the fact that the electoral body already has its plans outlined with the recent release of the timetable, and may have to rearrange its plans.