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TENSION MOUNTS IN N' ASSEMBLY OVER LOSS OF RETURN TICKETS

By NBF News
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HE postponement of resumption date to next Tuesday by the National Assembly to allow lawmakers participate in the on-going voter registration was partly due to the growing tension in both Chambers.

The one  week extension would give the leadership of the two Houses ample time to resolve the thorny issues and find ways of pacifying the aggrieved lawmakers.

During the good days between the National Assembly, the executive and even the leadership of the major political parties especially the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) , it used to be preached that continuity in parliament was good for democracy.

Even few weeks to the National Assembly PDP primaries, it was agreed among stakeholders that at least one-third of the current members of the National Assembly in each state should be allowed to return for the sake of parliamentary continuity.

Some of the aggrieved senators have therefore vowed to vent their anger by withdrawing their support for the presidential aspiration of President Jonathan.

Similarly, over 120 PDP members in the House of Representatives who lost in the primaries are not also taking it easy with the Speaker,  Dimeji Bankole, whom they said betrayed the agreement earlier reached.

This group of  lawmakers are lobbying against Bankole's ambition to be re-elected in June as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, alleged plots to sanction the two presiding officers of the National Assembly over alleged failure to ensure return tickets for majority of lawmakers is attracting criticisms in the House of Representatives.

Senate President David Mark and House of Representatives Speaker, Dimeji Bankole have been reported to be having problems with lawmakers who were unable to clinch the return tickets to the National Assembly.

The  governorship candidate of the Congress for Positive Change (CPC) in Bauchi State, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, in an interview in Abuja described the move as worthless and unfair, pointing out that the two presiding officers even lacked the powers to influence the nomination of people in any party.

He said: 'It will be absolutely absurd to hold principal officers accountable for large number of members not securing the tickets of their political parties. In the first place, they are not in a position to give or take tickets from contestants. I am pretty certain that they did their best to see that a large number of our colleagues succeeded in the primaries and if they were not able to achieve that, it will be unfair to hold principal officers responsible.

'Some of the principal officers themselves did not succeed in their own bids to secure tickets for the offices they aspired to get. If they are so powerful as to determine who gets tickets, they should have been able to succeed in their endeavour'