By Ibrahim Mohammed
Hundreds of youthful supporters of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday defied an early morning rain in Kaduna to hold a protest march to call for the resignation of Senate President Bukola Saraki.
The youth stormed the party’s state headquarters along Ali Akilu Road as early as 9 a.m. railing against Mr Saraki.
Many of the protesters held up placards with inscriptions such as “Saraki Must Go”, “Enough of Saraki’s Incompetence” and “We Reject Senate War Against Buhari”.
Other inscriptions include “We Say No To Budget Padding”, ” Saraki Has No Business Being Senate President “, and “Let’s Give Akpabio A Chance”.
Convener of the protest and Chairman of Arewa Solidarity Front, Haruna Maikano, handed a letter containing their demands to the APC State Secretary, Mohammed Shuaibu.
He said the protesters would not fold their arms and watch a few politicians trying to truncate democracy in Nigeria. He urged the APC to find a way to replace Mr Saraki with another competent senator as Senate President.
Mr Maikano said as northerners, they were disappointed with the poor leadership of the Senate under Mr Saraki.
“We resolved to formally write to you and intimate you on the position of the mass majority of northerners regarding the conduct and performance of Senator Bukola Saraki,” he said after prsenting the letter to the APC state scribe.
“We call on the APC National leadership to prevail on senators to restore the glory of the Senate by replacing Saraki who has so far built the image of a leader with too many pending court cases. We make bold to say that it is unacceptable to allow the incumbent Senate President to continue to ridicule the President and the country’s image with avoidable controversies over budgets and clearance of federal government’s political appointees.
“We urge the party national leadership to prevail on the senate to take appropriate democratic steps by pushing for the emergence of a more competent, articulate Senate President who is familiar with the laws of our land and to join President Buhari to move this country forward,” he said.
The protesters also expressed support for Godswill Akpabio’s defection to the APC, describing the former Peoples Democratic Party Senate Minority Leader as “a nationalist with strong democratic goodwill across both north and southern parts of the nation.
“We therefore wish to recommend him ( Akpabio) as a replacement for Senator Saraki to end the three years of stagnation and tiresome controversies over clear constitutional issues,” Mr Maikano said.
The protesters said they planned to meet with senators from their immediate constituencies in Northern Nigeria to drum up support for the replacement of Mr Saraki.
Mr Maikano further added that their protest letter had been copied to all senators from the north as well as all members of the House of Representatives from the region.
In his remarks shortly after receiving the letter, Mr Shuaibu commended the youth for their peaceful protest and assured them the letter would be channel to the national leadership of the party in Abuja.
” After receiving your letter and hearing your comment, I wish to assure you that APC is a party of justice and fair play and we very much believe in rule of law.
” The party at the national level is doing it best to ensure that it follows the right channel constitutionally to do the right thing on those who are trying to bring impediment to the current democracy in Nigeria.
“We really appreciate the concern by youth in your calibre of watching how things are happening at the National Assembly chamber. The state chairman is happy with you and your message will be conveyed to the national chairman as well as Mr President,” he said.
He urged them to remain calm, saying any action to be taken will be based on the constitution of the party and country.