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Senate Presidency: We can’t succumb to intimidation, harassment, Saraki’s loyalists insist

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By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja
Senators-elect working for the election of Senator Bukola Saraki yesterday vowed to resist any form of imposition, intimidation and harassment from external bodies in a bid to elect the President of the Senate for the 8th assembly.

The Like Minds group which is supporting Senator Saraki in a statement in Abuja warned the party’s leadership to beware of the ‘banana peels’ that was witnessed in the fifth senate.

Dino Melaye
Dino Melaye

The statement which was signed by Dino Melaye, spokesperson of the group and the former governor of Zamfara State, Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima and made available to Saturday Vanguard also challenged the Senate Unity Forum which is backing Senator Ahmed Lawan to produce the list of Senators supporting their camp.

The Like Minds group also said that the argument that only the most ranking Senator should contest for the Senate presidency is laughable wandering when such an became fashionable.

The statement read in parts, “In view of the controversy on the numbers of the senators supporting Senator Bukola Saraki and Ahmed Lawan for the senate presidency of the 8th senate, we challenge them (Unity Forum) in the same manner to publicly exhibit the names and signatories they claim that consist of their supports in the senate.

“We equally urge them to consolidate it further by submitting the names of the senators that have passed a resolution endorsing Ahmed Lawan as the next senate president as we, the senators of The Like Minds did when we submitted the names and signatures of the 34 senators endorsing Senator Saraki on May 24 2015 as the next senate president.

“Recall that on Tuesday this week, they promised to release to the public and indeed the Press Corp of the National Assembly the names and signatures of 40 senators purportedly supporting Ahmed Lawan and George Akume, but as at today, the number has changed to 35 and yet they cannot explain to the public the reason for the delay and change of numbers from 40 to 35.

“We challenge them to publicly do same by publishing the list and forward same to the National chairman of our great party, Chief John Odigie Oyegun. As democracy continues to be game of numbers, Senator Bukola Saraki is the President of the 8th senate.

“On two occasions, APC as the ruling political party has called for due internal democracy through primary elections, on the same two occasions, they have evaded these primary elections to determine the Senate President of the 8th senate.

“Their latest presentation to our National Chairman, that ranking should be a criteria for the selection of the next Senate President is fool hardy to suggest because if Ahmed Lawan is the most ranking senator where then was he when George Akume was selected the minority leader of the senate.”

On the ranking issue, The Like Minds group said, “If ranking is the way to go, it should be across party line as Senator David Mark is the most ranking senator so far among the senators of the 8th senate. The inconsistence that they have displayed, only suggest to the fact that they do not have the numbers as they claim.

“Recall also that Senator Ken Nnamani became the senate president, despite the fact that he was not a ranking senator. Ditto, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and others. George Akume when he contested David Mark (Sixth Senate) in 2007 was not a ranking senator when he became the senate minority leader.

“Senators must be allowed to choose their own leaders as impositions will only bring the ‘Banana Peel’ back to the Senate. We should adhere to the rules of the senate in choosing the next senate president. In so doing, experience, acceptability and merit should be of prime importance.

“Imposition, harassment, intimidation and name dropping as well as threat will not produce the senate president of the 8th senate.

“We preach change, we must act change. Our resolve is total and our commitment is unshaken.”

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