• APC dismisses allegation, says Senate President, deputy must go
• PDP Senate caucus passes vote of confidence in Saraki, deputy
The Peoples Democratic Party claims it has again uncovered a plot by the All Progressives Congress and a group in the Presidency to use security agencies and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to invite, arrest and detain the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu.
The PDP also claimed it had unravelled fresh facts confirming that the pressure by the Presidency for the reconvening of the Senate was out of an alleged sinister motive and not for any emergency in the approval of the budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission for the 2019 elections.
The former ruling party said in a statement by its spokesman, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Sunday that the alleged fresh plot to detain the two presiding officers was part of a renewed design to keep them out of circulation, ahead of Senate’s resumption.
The detention of the duo, he said, would enable those he described as “the APC senators,” who he said were in the minority, to produce two of their members as Senate President and Deputy Senate President on the excuse that Saraki and Ekweremadu failed to show up for proceedings in the Senate on Tuesday.
He also alleged that the government was planning to use the EFCC to harass members of the families of the presiding officers of the Senate.
Ologbondiyan said, “The PDP notes that the new plot to cage Saraki and Ekweremadu in a devilish rehash of the Tuesday July 24, 2018 hostage-taking and invasion of their official residences by security agencies is coming after the August 7, 2018 failed attempt to use security forces to take control of the leadership of the Senate.
“Apart from the plot to arrest and detain Saraki and Ekweremadu, the PDP has also been made aware of plans to use the EFCC and security forces to clamp down on their family members, including their wives and siblings as well as close associates, all in the effort to weaken their resolve.
“Moreover, investigations by the PDP further confirm that the insistence of the APC-led Federal Government on the emergency reconvening of the National Assembly, ostensibly to consider INEC’s budget for the 2019 elections, is part of APC’s thicker plot to execute their premeditated ‘coup’ against the leadership of the Senate.”
Ologbondiyan added that the PDP was further informed that contrary to claims by the APC and the Presidency, INEC actually submitted the budget to the Presidency in February 2018, only for the Presidency to submit it to the National Assembly in July when the legislature was already going on recess; with a view to enmesh it in a needless controversy.
He called on the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to stop acting as a saint, saying that Nigerians were aware that he was part and parcel of the actors behind the sordid developments playing out in the National Assembly.
Ologbondiyan called on Nigerians and the international community to note the alleged activities of the APC and the Buhari Presidency, which he said had continued to put the unity and stability of the nation and democracy under serious stress.
Declare Akpabio’s seat vacant, R-APC tells Senate
Just as the PDP alleges plot to arrest the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, the Reformed-All Progressives Congress has urged Nigerians to be vigilant in order to protect Nigeria’s fledgling democracy.
The R-APC said the nation’s democratic credentials could once again be tested as a result of the desperation of the Adams Oshiomhole-led “factional All Progressives Congress” to use its members in the National Assembly to destabilise the Senate in a bid to force the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, out of office should the National Assembly reconvene on Tuesday.
The allegation is contained in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the R-APC, Kassim Afegbua, on behalf of the R-APC’s National Working Committee in Abuja on Sunday.
According to the statement, the Adams Oshiomhole-led APC was plotting to give its interpretation to the provisions of the constitution to illegally remove Saraki as Senate President.
Afegbua said the National Working Committee of the R-APC had it on good authority that the Adams Oshiomhole-led faction of the All Progressives Congress had perfected plans to make the Tuesday, August 14 resumption date another day to pursue the illegal impeachment of the Senate President.
“This time, they are hell-bent on giving nebulous interpretation to the provision of the 1999 constitution (as amended) by using the numbers of senators present to provoke an impeachment.
“To this end, they have called on all the APC senators to make it a point of duty to participate at the plenary on Tuesday to pass a vote of “no confidence” in the Senate President. This will be followed by an orchestrated rancourous plenary session from where an impeachment motion would be raised and their illegality perpetrated.”
Afegbua further alleged that there had been two meetings of the APC leaders and Senators in Abuja within the last 48 hours to perfect their plot.
According to him, information available to the R-APC indicates that security agencies have also been briefed on what to do to ensure that the illegality is followed through.
The R-APC spokesperson said, “The APC factional chairman has been boasting and insisting that the Senate President would be impeached by whatever means because he no longer deserves to wear the crown.
“Needless to remind them that the National Assembly is an arm of government represented by elected persons who are vested with the responsibility of making laws for the good governance of the country.
“It is neither a kingdom of princes and princesses, nor is it a sanctuary for traditional doctrinaire where crowns and beads are used to impose monarchical authority.”
R-APC added, “We are also using this medium to condemn the blatant use of cash-for-votes which the APC has introduced into our electoral process. The just concluded by-elections in Katsina, Bauchi and Kogi states are testimonies to this fact.
“This is a sad commentary for a government that preaches anti-corruption as its cardinal philosophy of governance. The desperation to win at all cost and the killings associated with the elections are bad signals towards the 2019 general elections.”
The R-APC also urged the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to declare the seat of the former Senate minority leader, Godswill Akpabio, vacant because he left the PDP when there was no faction in the party.
APC dismisses allegation, says Senate President, deputy must go
Dismissing PDP’s allegations, the APC said that there was no truth in them. The Acting National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr Yekini Nabena, dismissed the allegation in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja, on Sunday.
He wondered why the PDP, Saraki and his deputy were afraid if they had nothing to hide.
The APC spokesman explained that the APC had not hidden its desire to ensure the removal of the two principal officers.
Nabena said, “They (Saraki and Ekweremadu) are just scared of their own shadows. If they have nothing to hide, why are they afraid? They believe that nobody can impeach them.
“It is very simple; if you believe you have the numbers (to remain in office), there is no need to be afraid. We expect the Senate to resume on Tuesday; our senators will go there; thankfully, we have two more brand new senators; so it is for them to swear them in.
“Like the comrade chairman said, we are going to use democratic means to remove them and let them also remember when Saraki became Senate President more than half of our senators were at the International Conference Centre, why is he now afraid? There is nothing like the APC and its Senators plotting to cause crisis on the floor of the Senate. The PDP thinks that everybody will behave like them; we are going to go there to follow the law and due process to ensure the right thing is done.”
You can’t decide Senate’s leadership, PDP tells Oshiomhole
But the PDP, also on Sunday, asked the National Chairman of the APC, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, to stop his continued calls for the change of the leadership of the Senate, saying such was completely out of his decision.
The party urged Oshiomhole to also stop “his childish tantrums and get educated” on the fact that the positions of the Senate President and that of deputy Senate President did not belong to political parties but to Nigerians, who elected persons into the seats through their representatives in the Senate.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said Oshiomhole should also stop exposing his alleged ignorance in thinking that the Senate leadership could be changed by his “inconsequential orders as a factional chairman of a political party, when the law is settled that such power is vested only in the two-third votes, representing 73 of the 109 senators.”
Ologbondiyan added that Oshiomhole should know that the pressure allegedly being mounted by him on the issue would not yield any positive result.
He said, “We know that Oshiomhole is under intense pressure from the Presidency to overheat the polity, distract the National Assembly members and make as much effort to cause a constitutional crisis in the country, having realised that they cannot win the 2019 general elections.
“However, the PDP strongly cautions these desperate power grabbers to note that their actions have unlimited capacity to destroy our democracy.
“Nigerians have noted that since his imposition as the chairman of the APC, Mr Oshiomhole has done nothing but spewing hate speech and officially introducing a thug mentality into the polity, while causing confusion in every sector of our national life, including the Federal Executive Council, the security system, our legislature as well as in his dysfunctional APC, which as an undertaker, he is finally set to bury.
“Since Oshiomhole assumed office, the nation has witnessed various unimaginable constitutional infractions, including the invasion of the Benue State House of Assembly and the Ekiti State Government House by the APC-controlled federal security agencies, the escalated harassment of federal legislators and persons perceived to be averse to the APC’s re-election bid; the siege to the residences of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, by security agencies as well as the recent invasion of the National Assembly by security operatives.”
While calling on Nigerians and the international community to note the activities of Oshiomhole, as allegedly being directed by the Presidency, he said the PDP believed firmly the APC and the Presidency were fighting what he called a losing battle.
He added that they could not cow Nigerians into changing their resolve to end the nation’s nightmare by voting the APC out and returning the nation to the path of peace, national cohesion and economic prosperity.
APC can’t hold Nigeria to ransom – Ihedioha
In a related development, a former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Emeka Ihedioha, has decried the invasion of the National Assembly by the officials of the Department of State Services.
Ihedioha warned that Nigeria was too big for any individual or group to hold to ransom.
In a statement on Sunday by his media aide, Chibuike Onyeukwu, Ihedioha, said, “This democracy is too precious to Nigerians for any individual or group to hold to ransom. I wish to alert Nigerians that the All Progressives Congress National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, and his team of notorious gangsters have become a nuisance and an increasing threat to our democracy and must not be allowed to truncate our hard-earned democratic government.
“The legislature is the fulcrum of democratic practice; consequently, the assault on the people’s House, an institution that symbolises our democracy and has indeed entrenched its culture, is to say the least, a failed coup, abuse of power and indeed smacks of dictatorship.”
PDP caucus passes vote of confidence in Saraki
The Peoples Democratic Party Senate Caucus has passed a vote of confidence in the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu.
The caucus also said it was opposed to any move to impeach or remove them from office.
This was contained in a letter by members of the PDP caucus and addressed to the Senate President.
An electronic copy of the letter was sighted by our correspondent, in Abuja, late on Sunday.
Senators yet to receive resumption notification
As the National Assembly is expected to reconvene on Tuesday, it has been gathered that Senators have yet to receive a formal notification to resume.
The senators, on resumption, are expected to consider President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for virement and the 2018 supplementary budget.
Senators Ben Murray-Bruce, Biodun Olujimi and Shehu Sani in separate responses to enquiries from The PUNCH, in Abuja, on Sunday said they had yet to receive notifications.
Murray-Bruce said, “I am in Abuja but I have not received any notification but I think we will reconvene on that day.”
Speaking in a similar vein, Olujimi said, “I have not received notification yet.”
Sani said, “I am yet to receive notification” but added that he would make himself available when occasion demanded.
The Special Adviser (Media) to the Senate President, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said he had no information about the Senate re-convening on Tuesday.
In response to a question on the Senate reconvening on Tuesday, he said, “I don’t know.”
• APC dismisses allegation, says Senate President, deputy must go