Abimbola Akosile, Damilola Oyedele in Abuja and Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, and several members of the House of Representatives have hailed the withdrawal of forgery charges filed against Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, by the Federal Government.
Their commendations followed widespread reactions trailing the decision of the federal government to withdraw the case against the top law-makers; a long-running issue which affected the activities at the upper House of the National Assembly.
In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the Tinubu Media Office, which was signed by Mr. Tunde Rahman, Tinubu described the withdrawal as a welcome development, and called for dismissal of the charges and urgent reform of the national economic architecture to promote diverse, durable economic growth and employment.
“The recent withdrawal of the forgery case against the Senate President and other members of the National Assembly is a welcome development at this crucial time. To bring the progressive change the APC vowed to the people of this nation, will require active and innovative governance. New legislation will be required to help pull the nation out of the economic mire.
“More importantly, such visionary legislation will be even more needed to permanently reform our national economic architecture so that we may promote the type of diverse, durable economic growth and employment that will ensure a stronger future and better insulate the nation from the fragility inherent in basing the economic welfare of the nation on the global price of a single commodity. This must be our top priority.
“With these forgery charges found not to apply, it is good that they be dismissed so that the national assembly may focus on this important work ahead. While those involved may understandably feel a sense of relief or vindication, this is no time for them to celebrate or to believe all is well with the nation simply because all has turned out well for them on this matter. All is not well. Throughout the nation, the people stagger and groan under the weight of economic hardship. This government and our party must hear and respond to their plea. We must lead the way.
“A mind and heart unburdened by the specter of possible legal liability is also free to devote itself to the pressing matters of state. Consequently, this action presents a unique window of opportunity for the national assembly to reset its bearings and to focus on the real issues at hand. History will not look kindly on those involved if they were to squander this fine chance. As never before, Nigerians look to the various arms of government to perform their roles so that the country can walk the path of change and renewal.
“May those who are the beneficiaries of this legal outcome now rededicate yourselves to fulfilling the progressive tenets of the APC and to honoring the promises we made to the people with regard to their governance and wellbeing. Now that you have overcome this legal battle, you must dedicate yourselves to helping Nigeria win the greater war against poverty, despair and failure.
No matter our past difference, in this effort we must stand united in purpose and resolve. Nigeria must do more than survive. It must thrive”, Tinubu added.
Meanwhile, several members of the House of Representatives have hailed the withdrawal of the forgery charges. The members under the aegis of the Consolidation Group, also called for better working relationship between all arms of government.
In a statement signed on its behalf by its convener, Hon. Zakari Mohammed (Kwara APC), the group said the withdrawal of the case at the FCT High Court is a courageous move by the government and a sign that it is responding to popular opinions.
It added that the move is a bold step to restore constitutionalism and the separation of powers.
“We have been saying that the forgery case is an infringement on the principle of separation of powers and interference by the executive on what is obviously an internal affair of the legislature. We believe the Standing Order of the Senate can only be declared forged or genuine by the Senate and by all actions of the Eighth Senate, its members have no grouse against the 2015 Standing Order,” the group said.
It further commended the Ministry of Justice for steering the government in the right direction, adding that Nigerians would be more confident about the seriousness of the government to tackle the challenge posed by the economic recession.
“…when all of us in government present a common front and work as a team to proffer solutions. The National Assembly has indicated its willingness to join hands with the executive in finding solutions to the economic recession. We do not need anything that will distract us from this noble goal. Let all politically-induced cases that pitched the executive against the legislature end now”, the group said.
In a related incident, Governor Ahmed of Kwara State said the recent withdrawal of the forgery charge against Saraki and Ekweremadu by the federal government would go a long way of providing a vista of opportunity for national cohesion and a platform for synergy between the executive and the legislative arms of government.
Ahmed, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, said the withdrawal of the charges was proper, necessary and timely.
He said, “I want to commend the federal government for withdrawing the forgery charges against the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweramadu”.
According to him, “the withdrawal provides a vista of opportunity for national cohesion and a platform for synergy between the executive and the legislative arms of government”.
Ahmed expressed hope that the federal government would take other appropriate similar actions so that all hands are on deck in the task of moving Nigeria forward.
The governor emphasised effective legislative and executive arms cordial relationship as a precursor to the delivery of good governance to the citizenry. He therefore advised Nigerians to continue to support the government in the task of adding values to the socio-economic development of the country.
The federal government had on Friday withdrawn the forgery charge against Saraki and Ekweramadu at the Federal High Court of Appeal, Abuja.