- Leads 12-man delegation to US parliament Wike condemns executive order on corruption
- APC now a spent vehicle, says Fayose
By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt and Deji Elumoye in Abuja
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has said the presidency wasted three years fighting him through the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), instead of concentrating on the development of the country.
Saraki is expected to deliver a speech on Nigeria and United States relations, and opportunities at the US parliament this week.
This is coming as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has condemned the recent Executive Order on Questionable Assets signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying it is unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has also described the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a spent force, and urged the Senate president to dump the party for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The trio spoke last Saturday night in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, while inaugurating Obiri Ikwerre – Airport Road reconstructed by Wike’s administration.
Inaugurating the road, Saraki expressed regret that rather than concentrate on the development of the country, the federal government wasted three years chasing perceived opponents.
He said his victory at the Supreme Court had exonerated him of any wrong-doing and proved his innocence.
The Senate president, however, urged Nigerians not to lose focus and hope, saying the country would eventually work.
“We are determined that there will be peace in this country. Those that don’t do the right thing will be sanctioned for not doing the right thing.
“We are determined that from every part of the country, this country belongs to us,” he said.
Saraki charged Nigerians to continue to fight for the development of the country.
He declared that Rivers State is safe for major investments as exemplified by the presence of the multi-billion dollar Eleme Indorama Fertilizer plant which he flagged off also on Saturday.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Wike stated that with the Senate president, Nigerians, irrespective of their political affiliation, would continue to fight the forces of darkness.
He called for the upholding of the Rule of Law across all tiers of government, saying is the only way to attain progress in the country.
Wike said: “Any government that does not respect the rule of law is the most corrupt government. This is because you cannot fight corruption without the rule of law.”
While berating the federal authorities for using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to illegally probe the finances of Rivers State despite a subsisting court judgment yet to be vacated by a higher court, Wike condemned the Executive Order on corruption, which he said, is unconstitutional.
Wike, who congratulated Saraki on his victory at the Supreme Court, said Rivers people would always stand by him, noting that the frame-up of the Senate president for armed robbery has negative consequences for the country.
In his speech, Fayose said PDP was behind Senate President in period of his travail.
He told the Senate President that APC is now a spent vehicle that can no longer take him to the expected destination, adding that it was high time the Senate President returned to the PDP.
Meanwhile, Saraki will deliver a speech on Nigeria and United States relations, and opportunities at the US parliament this week.
This is part of Saraki’s itinerary in the US as he will on Monday lead a 12-man National Assembly delegation to Washington D.C, on a parliamentary visit. The visit is meant to strengthen parliamentary and diplomatic relationship between Nigeria and the United States.
During the trip, Saraki is expected to deliver a speech on Nigeria and US Relations at the Council on Foriegn Relations, while the delegation is expected to meet with the US State Department and USAID officials to discuss energy development, health, education, gender development initiatives and agriculture.
Other highlights of the trip include: meetings with select members of the US House Foreign Relations Committee led by Senator Ed Royce, Ranking Member Eliot Engel; Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organisations’ Sub-committee Chairman, Chris Smith, and Ranking Member, Karen Bass to discuss issues of mutual interest to Nigeria and the US.
The delegation will also hold meetings with select members and staff of the Committee on House Administration, including, Chairman Gregg Harper; Ranking Member, Bob Brady, and Chairman, Cedric Redmond, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
In addition, the team will hold talks with the US Congress leadership, including Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, President Pro Tempore, Senator Orrin Hatch, as well as with members of Foreign Relations, Committee on Africa and Global Health.
The delegation will also partake in a Policy Forum on ‘Doing Business and Investing in Nigeria’ hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce, where Saraki will make a presentation.
Members of the delegation include Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda, Chairman, Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Baba Garbai, Chairman, Committee on Non-Governmental OrganiSations and Diaspora, Senator Rose Oko and Chairman, House Committee on Telecommunications, Hon. Fijabi Akinade, Chairman, House Committee On Justice, Hon. Rasak Atunwa and Hon. Hassan Saleh, Chairman House Committee on Local Content.
Also on the trip are the Chairman, House Committee on Women in Parliament, Hon. Evelyn Omavowan, Chairman, House Committee on Freedom of Information, Hon. Gabriel Onyenwife, Hon. Sunday Katung and the Director General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Prof. Ladi Hamalai.