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    Senate Threatens Strike Over Rivers Election, Asks Buhari to Replace Late Minister

    The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday threatened to suspend plenary sessions if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to conduct the seemingly abandoned Rivers election (legislative) on or before December 10, 2016.
    Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu had raised a motion calling on INEC to conclude the Rivers election so that the state could be represented in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
    The Senate leader, Ali Ndume in supporting the call for the conclusion of the Rivers elections, stated that it was sad that a critical bill like the Petroleum Industry Bill was being deliberated without any senator from Rivers state to make inputs whereas the state is one of the major oil producing states to be affected by the content of the bill.
    Another senator, Matthew Urhoghide described the failure of INEC to conclude the Rivers election as a deliberate and inhumane act by the electoral commission.
    The Senate President Bukola Saraki thereafter put the question on whether or not to mandate the commission to conduct all pending elections before December 10, to a vote.
    The majority of the senators supported the resolution and it was passed.
    It will be recalled that INEC had suspended the conduct of the Rivers election until security agencies could guarantee peaceful conduct of the polls. A previous attempt to hold the rerun election was marred by violence leading to the suspension of the exercise.
    The Senate on Wednesday also passed a resolution urging President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a replacement for the deceased minister of state for Labour, Mr James Ocholi SAN.
    Senator Dino Melaye had drawn the attention of his colleagues to the void left behind by the minister who hailed from Kogi state, Melaye’s home state.
    Ocholi died in a car crash in March, alongside his wife and a son while travelling from Kaduna State to Abuja.
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