PDP leader explains support for senate president
Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The leadership and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Kwara Central senatorial zone which produced the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, have challenged the National Chairman of party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, to state his position on the ongoing Saraki’s trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
They made the call in Ilorin, the state capital, yesterday during a peaceful protest to the state secretariat of the party.
The party stalwarts were led on the visit by the APC Kwara Central Chairman, Alhaji Jimoh Adesina, who was flanked by the state women leader, Hajia Sarah Adebayo, and the youth leader in the zone, Hon. Tunde Aalagbo.
Speaking with journalists during the protest, Adesina, said Oyegun should protect one of his members who is being “victimised,” being the national chairman of the APC.
Adesina, who said the people were displeased with the ongoing trial of Saraki at the CCT, described the trial “as nothing but persecution of our leader.
“Though as people, we believe in the supremacy of our constitution and the rule of law, but the recent scenario at the CCT leaves much to desire and has equally painted our judicial system black.”
The APC leader, who called on all party stakeholders to come together and speak with one voice, said: “The situation was not like this before the election. If the stakeholders refused to bury their differences, the party may collapse and this is what we are guiding against.”
He also called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigeria Judicial Commission (NJC) to stop the current alleged persecution of the senate president, saying there should be equal rights in the dispensation of justice in the country.
“A party that won a national election through the might of God and efforts of people like Saraki within 18 months of its formation needs to watch its steps. It should learn a lesson from the downfall of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“However, the expectations of the people who voted ‘change’ are improved welfare packages, stable water supply, uninterrupted electricity, good roads and security of lives and property, but not persecution of APC members.
“The concern of our president should be the unpaid salary, fix the economy and bail out 27 states which are unable to pay workers’ salaries,” he said.
Also speaking, the state APC chairman, Alhaji Isola Balogun-Fulani, who with other members of the state executive received the protesters, declared that the party had lost confidence in the CCT.
He added: “What’s going on at the tribunal is nothing but persecution of our leader.”
Balogun-Fulani, who said the country had never had it so good in respect of achievements recorded so far by the senate president, called on Nigerians to rise up against perceived injustice.
Meanwhile, the Publicity Secretary of the state chapter of the PDP, Chief Rex Olawoye, disclosed that his support for Saraki against his ongoing trial at the CCT should be viewed as a political gain for the people of the state rather than being tagged “a political statement.”
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin yesterday, Olawoye, who said he remains an active member of the PDP, noted that politics should be seen as a beneficial game “when the benefits are overtly seen” and an ideology when there is a need “to be rigid.”
The PDP spokesman had in Ilorin on Wednesday declared his support for Saraki against his trial by the CCT citing the alleged stance of the PDP on the issue at the national level.
According to him, “at the beginning of this episode on Saraki, he got the full supports of all the PDP senators at the Red Chambers and by an extension the supports of the party at the national level. That was what produced for us the post of the Deputy President of the Senate.”
He said: “Besides, whatever anyone would say, the state is at the driving seat today at the National Assembly and I see all these as derivable benefits from the occupation of the post of the Office of the Senate President.”
Olawoye reminisced on how he had worked with Saraki’s father (late Olusola Saraki) and how he was allegedly influential to the emergence of Saraki as the Governor of Kwara some 13 years ago.
He added: “Even though our political views no longer tally today, I remember on how i risked my life for him when the going was rough against the then incumbent Governor (late Mohammed Lawal). I will therefore not want the house we jointly build to collapse.”
Olawoye therefore advised all Kwarans to rally support for Senator Saraki so as to assist him out of its present situation.
This, he said would go a long way of moving the state forward.