The saber rattling between the All progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC) over plot to remove President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu continued, yesterday.
The senate is expected to cut short its recess and reconvene tomorrow to consider the N242 billion supplementary budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the conduct of the 2019 general election. Initial attempt to reconvene last week had hit the rocks following blockade of the National Assembly complex by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), a development which led to the firing of Lawal Daura.
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But ahead of the reconvening of the National Assembly tomorrow, the PDP and R-APC have raised the alarm about an alleged fresh plot to use security agencies and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest and detain Saraki and Ekweremadu.
The PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, said the plan is to keep the two presiding officers out of circulation so that APC senators could remove them in absentia, on the excuse that they failed to show up for plenary.
The opposition party stated that the new plot was a rehash of the blockade of the residences of Saraki and Ekweremadu by security operatives on June 24.
According to the PDP, the request by the Presidency for a reconvening of the National Assembly is borne out of a sinister motive and not for the urgent approval of INEC budget as it is being portrayed.
“The fresh plot to detain the two presiding officers is part of renewed designed to keep them out
of circulation, ahead of Senate resumption, so as to enable the heavily induced APC senators, who are now in the minority, to throw up two of their members as senate president and deputy respectively on
the excuse that Saraki and Ekweremadu failed to show up for proceedings in the Senate.
“The PDP notes that the new plot to cage Saraki and Ekweremadu, in 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 plots 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 associate, all in the effort to weaken their resolve,” the party stated.
The PDP added that its findings reveal that INEC submitted its budget for the 2019 polls to the Presidency in February, but the government decided to forward it to the National Assembly in July, when the legislature was set for its annual recess, so as enmesh the election budget in needless controversy.
The rAPC also raised the alarm that Adams Oshiomhole has perfected plans to make tomorrow’s resumption another attempt at impeaching Saraki.
He alleged that the leadership of the APC had held two meetings in the last two days to perfect the plot, even as the security agencies have been briefed and brought into the plan.
The rAPC in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Prince Kassim Afegbua said Oshomhole planned to use the senators that would attend the reconvened session to pass a vote of no confidence on Saraki and subsequently invoke an impeachment motion.
In another statement, the PDP cautioned Oshiomhole to stop his obsession to change the leadership of the Senate.
The party which stated that the two positions belong to Nigerians, who determine those to occupy them at any given time, through their representatives urged Oshiomhole
to be mindful of the fact that the Senate leadership could only be changed by 73 senators, which represents two-third majority of the upper chamber, as prescribed by the law.
“Mr. Oshiomhole should also stop exposing his ignorance in thinking that the Senate leadership can 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 on the two-third votes, representing 73 of the 109 senators.
“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 factional chairman, Mr. Oshiomhole, has done nothing but spewing hate speeches 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.
But the APC maintained that it is either Saraki steps down or risk impeachment.
“We reiterate that the Senate President being a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in an All Progressives
Congress (APC) numerically-dominated Senate cannot maintain a minority rule in the upper House,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, the EFCC has dismissed claims by the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Political Affairs, Babafemi Ojudu that it connived with Saraki to undermine the incumbent administration.
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It said Ojudu’s claim contained in his recent article lacked the truth, insisting that it had no relationship with the Senate President.
The commission, in a statement by its head Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren stressed that the freezing of the accounts of Benue and Akwa Ibom states was done in good faith and not intended to undermine the government as alleged by Ojudu.