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APC, PDP in war-of-words over status of Saraki, Ekweremadu

Ever since the issue of defection started especially in the National Assembly, the two major political parties in the country have been at logger-head over who controls the leadership of the Senate.

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have engaged in a war-of-words over the eligibility of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, retaining their positions while they both belong to the minority PDP in the upper chamber.

The APC has insisted that its members remained the majority in the Senate and as such, could not allow a member of the minority PDP to preside over plenary, thereby asking Saraki to step aside.

But the PDP, on Friday, accused the APC and Federal Government of ‘shopping for a fraudulent interim court order’ to declare vacant, the seat of Senate President, following Saraki’s defection from the APC to the PDP.

The main opposition party also said that credible information at its disposal showed that some cabals in the Presidency and APC had perfected a plan to institute a lawsuit to challenge the validity of Saraki’s seat with the sole aim of securing a fraudulent injunction to force him out of office pending the determination of the substantive suit.

The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement made available on Friday, said intelligence available to the PDP showed that Saraki would be sidelined through prearranged court ruling while his deputy would be detained to create room for a change of leadership in the Senate.

He said: “Once they are able to secure the injunction from a particular compromised judicial officer, they intend to arraign and detain the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, on trumped up charges and ensure he is not granted bail so as to keep him out of circulation while their men would move in to effect an illegal leadership change in the Senate.

But the party expressed confidence in the judiciary, saying “while we trust that the Chief Justice of Nigeria will protect the sanctity of our judiciary especially at this trying time in our national history”, it called on the institution of the judiciary at all levels to immune itself from being used by enemies of our democracy as no house falls leaving its roof standing.

“This desperation by despotic forces to forcefully and illegally take control of the Senate, the highest symbol of our Democratic Order, is nothing short of “civilianised coup” which must be resisted by all.

“The judiciary must therefore ensure that it is not intimidated or ensnared to be party to a desperate bid to destabilise our nation”, he added.

The PDP spokesman also stated that the plot aimed at destabilising the nation’s democracy laid credence to the party’s earlier stand that President Buhari’s supposed London vacation is a ploy to absolve himself of responsibility for the political terror plotted by the APC government to unleash on the opposition, especially the National Assembly.

He said, “Although they denied it as usual, Nigerians can bear witness to the fact that there is nothing the APC government denied that they did not eventually execute.

“Indeed, there has never been any impunity they executed that they did not deny.

“The recent rascally attempt to hold Saraki and Ekweremadu hostage in their homes on 24th July 2018 as well as the terrorisation of the Benue State House of Assembly after Governor Samuel Ortom’s defection bear sad testimony to this fact”.

He called on Nigerians and the international community to be on the alert as the conspirators plan to commence the execution of the alleged plot from Tuesday next week, while it cautioned the APC to note that it is running on a collision course with Nigerians as the citizens will definitely not fold their hands and watch the hard earned democracy to be destroyed.

But the former Nasarawa State Governor and serving senator of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu, has faulted the claim of the PDP that Saraki could not be removed, saying that Saraki has stepped on Banana peel and should hand over the crown with immediate effect or be ready for the consequences.

Adamu gave the warning in an interview with journalists on Friday in Abuja.

He said, “If Saraki knows political intricacies and the political terrain or the path where the banana peel in political landscape is, he will be more cautious.”

According to Adamu, “the way he (Saraki) is going now, he has obviously stepped on banana peel and only God knows how far he will slip”.

The Nasarawa State born politician said that he would not pretend because he believed Saraki made a mistake by taken a wrong decision, stressing that he (Saraki) would “have stories to tell along the line.”

“It is not the best he could have done. He had a duty to his father to keep the flag of the family flying but the way he is going, I do not think he is doing that.”

Adamu, therefore, urged Saraki to step down to avert consequences, adding that “he should honourably return the crown or be ready to bear the consequences.”

Adamu, who is the Head of pro-Buhari Support Group in the Senate, vowed that with the defection, it would not be business as usual.

He explained that “the defection of Saraki and the other lawmakers is a game changer.

“We expect them to do it amicably and peacefully. They should make sure they do not run away with our crown.

“If they think they will go and nothing will happen and that it will be business as usual, then they need to think again.

“I will not say whether we will take steps or not take steps. We hope that between now and resumption of Senate plenary, more events will unfold. We do not want to be in a hurry to speculate.”

The lawmaker, however, said that if Saraki insisted on leading a Senate with majority of lawmakers from the APC, there would be repercussions.

On the belief that Saraki did not do anything constitutionally wrong by defecting and that there was a precedence where the then Speaker of House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, defected but remained the Speaker, Adamu said “it will not happen this time. We are more educated on the rules now.”

On gale of defections from the ruling party, Adamu said he would not want any member to leave the party again, noting, however, that it was a free world and everyone was at liberty to join the party of his or her choice.

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