Tunde Opalana, Abuja
Senators elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will not allow the All Progressives Congress (APC) government to have its ways freely unchallenged in the 9th parliament.
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South), made this disclosure on Thursday in Abuja at the opening of the 86th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party.
He said that the APC controlled Senate will not be allowed to ratify every demand of the APC led executive without subjecting such to proper legislative process, adding that PDP legislators under his leadership will not allow the red chamber to be willingly used to rubber stamp every bill or motion of the Presidency.
Abaribe promised that PDP Senators will put the APC government on its toes.
While calling on Nigerians not to be intimidated to speak against any injustice in governance, he said: “We will speak, we will act, and we will do everything to ensure that APC government does not get away with whatever they want”.
In his opening remark titled ‘Nigeria in Distress’, the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, castigated the process that produced the leadership of the National Assembly as a new twist in corruption by the APC administration.
“Our party also put up some showing during the inauguration of the National Assembly but the ruling APC came up with their ‘green card’ ‘vote and snap’ fraud that introduced an unprecedented dimension to the growing corruption index of this administration.
My worry is the consequences this brazen corruption would have in the legislative activities of the 9th Assembly.
“While the executive is having their wish in the 9th Assembly, PDP as the main opposition party is very uncomfortable that the level of corruption that preceded the emergence of the leadership is capable of undermining the desired robust legislative activities.
“Having ‘purchased’ the leadership of the parliament, we expect the cabals to now fully take over and dictate the show at the legislature.
We have even seen the first sign of what is to come when the APC group in the Senate killed a motion to debate the June 12 speech of the imperial President.
“Only a conquered parliament with credibility challenge can shy away from discussing a major address of a President just sworn into office, but that is a sign of what is to come when choosing legislative leadership is heavily monetised by a regime that claims to be fighting corruption.
“The bazaar that took place during the election of National Assembly leaders clearly gives a picture of the anti-corruption status and how the APC has become home for looters.
“Just last week, Nigerians witnessed how some corruption charges involving APC chieftains were withdrawn from the EFCC and handed over to the Attorney General for final dropping”.
The National Chairman, however, was not happy with the role played by some members of the PDP caucus in the elections and castigated them for backstabbing the party.
Recall that PDP anointed candidates for the positions of Senate President and Speaker House of Representatives, Senator Ali Ndume and Mohammed Bago were not voted by all Senators and Representatives of the party. Also, Senator Ike Ekweremadu failed to secure the full votes of all PDP members to regain his seat as Deputy Senate President.
He said: “Permit me at this juncture dear leaders to express the disappointment of our party on the embarrassing roles of some of our party members at the National Assembly during the election of their leaders.
“Party loyalty demands that you stick to your party at any given situation. When personal interest clash with party interest, personal should drown into that of the party, that’s what real democrats are expected to do.”
“The party has therefore decided to set up an investigation Committee to look into the role played by party members during the inauguration process”.
He, however, congratulated the leadership of the 8th Assembly in particular the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara, for the wonderful job they did especially in resisting the executive, maintaining the independence of the legislature and sustaining the doctrine of separation of power.
Immediate past Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara, said the report of the 2019 General Election by the European Union Election Observation Mission clearly shows that the PDP did not lose the February 23 Presidential election.
He said the observations made by international bodies that observed the last general elections; the EU EOM, the American based National Democratic Institute, NDI, and International Republican Institute, IRI, merely confirmed the feeling of Nigerians that the election that produced President Muhammadu Buhari was marred by rampant irregularities and therefore fell below credibility standard.
Chairman of PDP’s Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jibrin, dismissed insinuation of crack in the party.
He said the party is united and all organs of the PDP back every decision taken by the party, adding that “there is no room for cabal in our party.”