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2015: Automatic ticket splits PDP Senators

COSMAS  EKPUNOBI, Abuja

The alleged planned automatic return ticket for 40 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators may have hit a brick wall as some governors and other senators allegedly schemed out of the arrangement regrouped in Abuja to frustrate the move.
Some PDP governors who see the planned automatic return as a major threat to their own senatorial ambition, are said to have made strong protest to both President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP leadership on the grave political implication of such move for the party in 2015.
A meeting by the PDP senators to harmonize the list of the lucky senators for the automatic ticket ended in deadlock as some senators excluded in the plan insisted on their inclusion or no deal.
The caucus meeting, presided by the Senate President David Mark, was marred by protest by some senators who may not make the list of 40 senators already penciled down for the automatic return ticket.
Though the senators declined comments on the outcome of the session, some of them who stormed out of the meeting kept long faces suggesting trouble.
A source alleged that senators who are likely to be excluded in the plan are insisting that the gesture should be extended to all PDP serving senators in the interest of peace.
Two senators from each of the PDP states are to benefit from the planned automatic tickets.  But some of the senators whose fate would be decided by their governors are, however, crying foul .
Few of the senators, who had already picked governorship tickets in the various states are said to have made u-turn, pushing for a return to the Senate in 2015.
The lawmakers are also asking President Jonathan and the PDP to make a categorical pronouncement on this in order to douse the tension already generated by the plan.
Some of the senators who may make the list are, however, in doubt as to the sincerity of the Presidency. Senator Nurudeen Abatemi (Kogi) had earlier told his colleagues to thread with caution in their demand.
He was reported to have alleged that there was no such agreement yet between the Presidency and the senators, stating that some likely beneficiaries of automatic return tickets were only peddling such rumour to deceive others
Meanwhile, the lawmakers are said to be angry over the long delay in the release of their third and last quarter allocations .
A source alleged that the lawmakers may stage another showdown with the President as the senators rejected the two months’ salary offered to them by the Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The Minister was said to have told the aggrieved lawmakers yesterday that the government may not have money to pay the lawmakers now following a major drop in the projected revenue for the year.
It would be recalled that the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh had told Daily Champion recently that the issue of automatic ticket has not been discussed by the party’s National Working Committee, (NWC).

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