With just a few hours to the election of the four presiding officers of the the National Assembly, intrigues, permutations, allegations of bribery continue to rent the air within the precints of the Assembly complex.
The offices for determination on Tuesday are President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Deputy Senate President, and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
One Senator-elect from Delta State, Ned Nwoko, arrived for accreditation on Sunday, but was sent back over a pending a resolution whether it was him or Senator Peter Nwaoboshi that should be recognised as validly elected to represent Delta North senatorial district.
Meanwhile, Senator Francis Alimikhena (APC Edo North) continues to insist he has not dropped his ambition to be Deputy Senate President contrary to speculations making the rounds.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has however endorsed controversial Senator, Ovie Omo-Agege for the coveted seat and directed its members to vote for him.
In the House ofRepresentatives there are allegations that green cards have been issued to the new members-elect to track votes. This is in addition to allegations that uncredited mastercards have been given to over one hundred members across party lines.
Specifically, “the card is a promissory credit note to members who had penciled down the serial number of their ballot paper on the green card”, the source hinted.
Acting as a proof, it goes that any member whose serial number has been confirmed to have voted for a particular Speakership candidate would receive instant financial alert to their individual bank accounts after the activation of the mastercard.
It was further learnt that with the number, every individual voter can be tracked and identified either for reward or sanction by the party.
Recal that some national dailies of Monday, June 10, 2019 were awash with signatures and endorsements for the APC approved candidate, Femi Gbajabiamila.
However, some member-elect have expressed shock and worry that their names were published in the newspapers without their consent.
One of the members who does not want to be named said that a mere attendance of a meeting, which was permitted by his party, does not translate to automatic endorsement for a particular candidate.
He described the development as an act of desperation, untidy, petty and unhealthy for many members-elect.
According to him, the election of the leadership of both chambers is expected to throw up many surprises.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that former member, House of Representatives, Nwoko was politely turned back by the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, when he showed up for accreditation on Sunday.
Omolori, who met Hon. Nwoko at the ‘White House’ lobby, opposite Hearing Room 1, venue for the accreditation of elected lawmakers, informed him that he will not be accredited because of unsettled electoral dispute in his Delta North senatorial district.
Nwoko is currently entangled in legal battle with another member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, over the rightful candidate of the party in the last National Assembly election.
Court of Appeal had last month ruled in favour of Nwaoboshi, nullifying Nwoko’s victory at the Federal High Court while asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise and issue Nwaoboshi a Certificate of Return.
In another development, Senator Alimikhena told journalists in Abuja on Sunday evening that it was not true that he had withdrawn from the race.
“I am still in the race. I have not stepped down for anybody. How will I step down and who will I step down for? I am a ranking Senator, a Principal Officer in the 8th Senate, an experienced personality who has served in various Ad-hoc committees in the just concluded Senate .
“I want to assure my colleagues of purposeful leadership, I want them to support and vote for me as the Deputy Senate President as I promise to provide purposeful leadership. I have the humility, the experience and temperament that is required for the office. I have been a very loyal party member, my relationship also cuts across party divides”, the lawmaker said.
While calling on his teeming supporters and colleagues in the Senate to completely disregard the information that he had stepped down, Alimikhena described the rumour as “unimaginable, unthinkable and machinations of some very over zealous and too ambitious persons who will go extra mile to bring down others”.
He said, his decision to contest for the position was with the blessings and permission of the entire people of his constituency which he was not willing to relinquish or betray for anything.
The lawmaker expressed confidence that he would emerge victorious as his colleagues were poised to voting for him at the chamber on Tuesday.