- Oshiomhole asks Senate president to vacate seat
- Saraki’s exit from APC a relief, says FG
- Lawan leads 12 APC Senators to meet Buhari
Deji Elumoye, Omololu Ogunmade and James Emejo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives wednesday raised the alarm over alleged secret plot by some “dissident senators” led by Senator Ali Ndume, Senator Adamu Abdullahi and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege to illegally impeach the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
This allegation is coming as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday in the State House asked Saraki to vacate his seat following his defection to the PDP.
The federal government also yesterday reacted to Saraki’s defection from the ruling party, along with the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, describing the development as a relief.
Oshiomhole made the call while answering questions from journalists when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari along with APC senators.
Also, the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, wednesday led 10 All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators to meet President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The Senators, who were joined by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, had converged at the Senate car park in the National Assembly premises before being conveyed in a 32-seater Hiace Coaster bus to Aso Rock.
Addressing journalists, the House Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Chukwuka Onyema, along with other members said they received information that some senators who were aided by policemen planned to sit covertly and illegally to impeach the Senate president.
The National Assembly is currently on its long recess and is expected to resume on September 26.
Onyema said some members of the PDP Caucus went to the National Assembly complex to tidy up some committee businesses when they got wind of the alleged plot.
He added that his members would keep vigil to ensure that the unlawful impeachment proceeding do not happen.
“As you all know, the National Assembly is on recess but committee work is ongoing. We were busy doing our committee work when information was brought to us that the Senate chambers was being forcefully evaded by a couple of senators led by Senator Ali Ndume, Senator Adamu Abdullahi and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
“And their aim of the invasion of the Senate when all senators have gone on recess – they wanted to invade the Senate chambers to sit illegally and impeach the Senate president illegally when everybody is out on recess.”
“We also have it on good authority that they are planning to come back this night and tomorrowmorning aided by our own security forces that are meant to protect lives and property of Nigerians. They are now the ones aiding these dissident senators to truncate democracy.
“You might think they want to take over the Senate but that’s not what they want to do; they want to truncate this democracy of ours.
“But we the PDP Caucus- minority caucus have decided that we are going to stay here, we’ll keep vigil and wait to see what is going to happen tonight and tomorrow morning,” he said.
Continuing, the House Minority Leader said:”We are calling on all Nigerians to stay awake with us because this is not a rape on the National Assembly but a rape on democracy which concerns all of us.
“And if we allow this to happen, then we might as well go back to when we had a military junta and forget about democracy,” he said.
The group also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the attempt by the senators in question to thwart the present democracy.
Meanwhile, Oshiomhole asked Saraki to vacate his seat following his defection to the PDP last Tuesday.
Oshiomhole said his defection did not take him by surprise as the hint had earlier been made, saying he was happy however that Saraki admitted that he made efforts to address his grievances.
“I was happy for one thing – that the Senate president as a mark of honour, accepted that he is leaving not because the new leadership did not make effort; he admitted that not only did I do everything possible along with the vice president, along with some governors, we had meetings with the president, but he argued that those efforts came too late. But I couldn’t have started acting before I was born.
“But whatever is the reason, we can decamp from Larry but we can’t decamp from Nigeria. The only thing is that there are other consequential issues that every man or woman of honour who had taken such decisions would be expected to follow through. I mean you should not collect a crown that belongs to a family and wear it on behalf of the family if for your personal reasons which he has enumerated that he has gone to another family. It is just a matter of honour to leave the crown in the house that the crown belongs to. As it stands even now, APC is still the largest party in the senate. We have 53 senators, that is much more than PDP has, or APGA has.
“So, I think the important thing is that our democracy is still evolving, there are a couple of lessons to learn from the development. Going forward, we will expect the system to get stronger to the extent that it is able to learn the correct lessons and take the correct steps to profit from these developments,” he said.
Also speaking, Lawan, said despite the defections to PDP, APC still has the majority in the chambers and called on all senators on recess to reconvene to consider the president’s Virement request.
“Though the other side is claiming they are 60, 70 but they have never given a name. It is left for you to make your judgement. In fact, I am using this medium to challenge the names of the PDP senators, we have published ours and among the 53 none has come out to deny that he is APC. Let them publish their own, they remain 48 senators in PDP. And by the grace of God, when the by-elections in Bauchi and Katsina will hold, we will get two senators and that will boost our number.
“We have placed our total commitment and loyalty to our party and Mr. President; we remain true and genuine representatives of our people, we will not want to do anything that is not in the interest of our people and this administration.
I am calling on my colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives to come back and consider the requests of Mr. President for the virement and supplementary budget for INEC for the 2019 elections,” Lawan said.
Meanwhile, the federal government yesterday reacted to last the defection of the Senate president and the Kwara State governor from the APC to PDP, describing it as a relief.
Briefing journalists in the State House at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said Saraki’s defection did not take the ruling party by surprise, noting that he had all along acted like an opposition member in the APC.
According to Mohammed, if the party did not gain anything from the emergence of Saraki as the Senate president, it will have nothing to lose either by his exit, alleging that he had deliberately slowed down the progress of the government by delaying budget passage and approval of key appointments.
“If Saraki were not a member of the APC, the party and the government it leads could not have suffered more than they had already done, with regards to the delay in passing the budget, approving key appointments and so on.
“In other words, what we are saying is that the Senate President Saraki has behaved all along as if he is a member of the opposition, deliberately slowing down the progress of the APC-led federal government. We would have done better under a Senate president that was in opposition.
“It is therefore neither a surprise nor a blow that he has defected. Perhaps the only surprise is that when he eventually defected, it was a mere whimper! If we didn’t gain by having our member as Senate president, we stand to lose nothing by losing him,” Mohammed said.
On the implication of Saraki’s exit for the APC in Kwara State, Mohammed said the fortunes of the party in the state only got brighter, pointing out that following his exit, APC members have now come together to reposition the party for victory in 2019.
Further stating that the Kwara State chapter of the APC would only be stronger, he said the consultative meeting of the party held in the state at the weekend was a defining moment for many people in the state who have been seeking freedom.
According to him, the dissolution of the executive committee of the party in state by the National Working Committee (NWC) had provided the platform for APC to start on a fresh note.
“Realising this, the true APC members in the state have come together to strengthen the party; open its doors to new members and reposition it for the 2019 elections, with a view to delivering the state to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“This was what we did last weekend, and you saw the way the people reacted. Yet, what happened at the weekend was not even a rally. It was a consultative stakeholders’ meeting. And it was a defining moment for the millions of Kwarans seeking political direction and emancipation.
“Thankfully, the national leadership of our party has hearkened to our demands by dissolving the state exco and constituted a caretaker committee. That offers a fresh start for the APC in the state.
“No one tree, no matter how big, can make a forest. Every Kwaran is important in the emerging political dispensation in the state, and it is the realisation of this new dawn that has set the state agog for the APC,” Mohammed added.