Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Some leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from Delta State have condemned the suspension of the Senator representing Delta Central senatorial district, Ovie Omo-Agege, by the Senate, describing it as â€œlegislative tyranny.â€
The APC leaders, who took their protest to the APC national secretariat yesterday, also described the Senate decision â€œas unconstitutional, lawless, undemocratic, disrespectful, oppressive and ultra vires.â€
While addressing a press conference, spokesman for the group, Chief Adelabu Bodjor, alleged that the Senate, under the current leadership of Senator Bukola Saraki, was nursing a sinister motive to undermine President Muhammadu Buhari, and by extension, the ruling party.
According to the group, â€œBy the letters and spirit of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Senate cannot nullify, tinker with or suspend the election of a senator of our republic.
â€œThe Senate cannot compel a senator to vacate his seat, and as a consequence, deny his people their constitutionally guaranteed right of representation. A senator can only vacate his seat by the reason of death, a recall by his constituents or if, without a division in the party on whose platform he was elected, he decamps from that party, or otherwise by an appropriate judicial pronouncement. None of these is the case at hand
â€œIt is extremely offensive that distinguished Senator Omo-Agege was purportedly suspended for his opinions on a controversial amendment to the Electoral Act regarding the sequence of general elections. The senator did not break any law of the land. Rather, his only alleged fault is that he said: â€˜There is a perception out there that the proposed amendment is targeted at the president (Buhari)â€™. But many share the truth, thoughts or sentiments expressed by our senator. Indeed, just two days ago, THISDAY noted that â€˜the target of the reordering of the (election) sequence was the presidency â€¦â€™
â€œSo, we must ask: â€˜Why suspend Omo-Agege and deny our people their constitutional right of representation in the Senate just because he merely alluded to an obvious public perception? If that is such a huge offence, then it should also be right to insist that persons on trial for allegedly committing weighty crimes and other offences should themselves be suspended or banned from the Senate. These persons know themselves.
â€œIn any case, it is a matter of public knowledge that as a man of impeccable character and courage, Omo-Agege accepted his partyâ€™s advice and promptly apologised to his colleagues when he realised that on ground of ethics and personal privilege, some of his colleagues were offended by his comments. It was a question of honour and good friendships not that he violated any law.â€
Some of the APC leaders from Delta State who came with the protesting group were Chief Great Ogboru, Chief Frank Kokori, Dr. Marian Ali, Dr. Goodnews Agbi Reverend Ossai Abbeh, Hon. George Timinimi, Chief Charles Uwaechie and Chief Sam Oteheri.