Text Box: Call for independent enquiry into DSS siege Text Box: Senate president must go, says Oshiomhole
Text Box: APC accuses APC of plotting to attack its senators
Deji Elumoye, Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The leadership of the National Assembly has said it cannot reconvene now to consider the 2019 general election budget proposals before it until the joint committees set up to consider the proposals complete their work.
President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, in a joint statement yesterday, said based on this, no date has been fixed for the two chambers to reconvene.
The statement signed by their media aides, Alhaji Yusuf Olaniyonu and Mr. Turaki Hassan, emphasised that so far, no meeting of the joint Senate and House Committees on Electoral Matters, Appropriation, Loans and Bonds had taken place to prepare the ground for National Assembly resumption.
According to the statement, until the committees have a ready report for the consideration of the two chambers, it would be most irresponsible to recall members from recess especially those that might have travelled to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj.
The four-paragraph statement read, “The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, and Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, have directed that we inform all senators, honourable members and the public that a date has not been set for the reconvening of the Senate and the House of Representatives to consider the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 2019 elections budget request forwarded by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 17, 2018.
“The leadership of the two chambers had met and agreed to reconvene to consider the proposal this week before which a meeting between the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Electoral Matters and officials of the INEC must have held on or before Monday, August 13, 2018.
“The joint committees were also expected to meet with the joint Senate and House Committees on Appropriations, Loans and Debts on the Eurobond loan request after which two reports would have been ready for presentation in the two chambers.
“However, no such meeting had taken place yet as a result of which both Senate and House of Representatives cannot reconvene as there is no report to consider.
“Until the committees have a ready report for the consideration of the two chambers, it will be most irresponsible to recall members from recess especially those that may have travelled to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj.”
Saraki Calls for Independent Enquiry into DSS Siege
Meanwhile, Saraki has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to institute an independent judicial panel of inquiry into last Tuesday’s invasion of the National Assembly by masked gunmen.
In a tweet this morning on his personal @bukolasaraki handle, Saraki said, “The very serious questions about last Tuesday’s siege on the National Assembly can only be answered through a thorough and neutral investigation.
“I call on Mr. President to immediately institute an independent judicial panel of inquiry to look into that assault on our democracy.”
Saraki Must Go, Says Oshiomhole
In a related development, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, has again urged its members in the Senate to remove Saraki from office.
He spoke at a meeting with APC senators and members of the House of Representatives, in Abuja yesterday.
Oshiomhole said Saraki’s removal has become imminent because the party and its majority lawmakers would not accept minority rule.
Oshiomhole said, “We will impeach (remove) Saraki legally and democratically. The only way he can avoid impeachment (removal) is to either resign or return to the majority party- even then we will not accept him; he should remain where he is.
“No amount of blackmail or sponsored analysts can stop his removal.”
He also said the threat of a government shutdown was imminent as such there was the need for lawmakers on the APC platform to do everything legally possible to reconvene the National Assembly in order to approve Buhari’s request for the passage of INEC’s 2019 election budget.
The meeting was still in progress at press time.
APC Accuses PDP of Plotting to Attack its Senators
As the battle for the soul of the leadership of the Senate rages, the APC has accused the PDP of planning to unleash attack on its members in the Senate.
The party said that Saraki’s continued stay in office as Senate president amounted to “high treason.”
The ruling party, which has been at logger heads with the main opposition party, over the reconvening of the National Assembly, insisted that the Senate must reconvene.
In a statement by the Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabene, the APC said it had uncovered plans by the PDP to attack its members.
It said, “Our attention has been drawn to sinister plans by the PDP to attack some APC senators as part of the PDP’s desperate bid to ensure that Dr. Bukola Saraki clings to the position of Senate President.
“By this statement, we call on security agents to protect APC Senators. If any senator is harmed, the PDP and Saraki should be held directly responsible. We call on security agencies to also closely monitor the activities of some PDP leaders including Saraki because the plan to attack APC senators is real and imminent,” it said
APC said that it was reliably informed that the plot was hatched in the private residence of a PDP leader in Maitama-Abuja on Sunday night. The meeting was attended by 15 pro-Saraki senators including the Senate President himself.
“We learnt that the PDP expressed worry over the APC’s Senate majority and considered several options to stop the APC from taking over the Senate leadership among which is attacking some APC senators to ensure their inability to attend legislative sittings.
“The PDP have recruited thugs for this purpose, we have now learnt.
“During Sunday’s meeting, the PDP senators planned several types of attack, one of which is to lure some of them (APC Senators) out at night in the guise of inviting senators to a political settlement meeting and thereafter instigate a violent confrontation during the meeting and unleash standby PDP thugs on APC senators” Our source privy to the meeting informed us.
“This revelation has not come to us as a surprise because the Senate president through proxies has made several failed attempts to buy over APC senators with N100million each.
“As a Party, we don’t believe in inducing lawmakers to achieve our legitimate goal of removing Saraki as Senate President. We will get the support of some PDP Senators to get the required 2/3 vote and impeach Saraki. We are already talking to some of PDP Senators who believe and support the direction of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to achieve our legitimate goal,”
“While Saraki and his cohorts continue to postpone their doomsday regarding the imminent Senate leadership change, the yet-to-be considered 2019 budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is dangerously delayed.
“Clearly, Saraki’s actions as Senate President now bother on high treason.”
Saraki: It’s Sad the Kind of Leaders APC Has
Responding, Saraki said Nigeria was unfortunate to have such characters in APC as leaders.
In a statement by his media adviser, Olaniyonu, yesterday, Saraki declared, “Nigeria is unfortunate to have characters (NWC members) like that presiding over a ruling party. It is very clear why Nigeria is where it is right now. With such people in office, a country like Nigeria cannot move forward.
According to him, “These people (members of National Working Committee of APC) are in the gutter. All they want to do is to drag people to their own level. We can’t join them in that gutter. It is also unfortunate that such an allegation will come from a ruling party.”