By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA – FORMER Senate President, Ken Nnamani,yesterday, warned the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to steer clear of National Assembly matters.
He particularly said it was out of place for the party to enforce its supremacy on the Senate, saying the two arms of the National Assembly were made up of legislators from different political parties.
Speaking at a public presentation of a book titled:” Nigeria’s Fourth Republic National Assembly: Politics, Challenges and Media Perspectives, written by Dr. Austin Uganwa said that the events of June 9, which led to the failure of the APC to influence its choices as presiding officers of the National Assembly occurred because the party misread the issue of party supremacy.
He stated that once Senators are elected, they become senators of the Federal Republic and that once a Senate President emerges, he becomes the senate president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, dumping the partisan toga.
According to him, it was wrong for the APC to have called a meeting at the same time when the senate was to convene, adding that the senators must hold their loyalty to the Constitution at that moment.
He said: when we talk about independence of the legislature, it also delve into what happened on June 9. That day, a group of people handling government decided to hold a meeting. But one would have expected that they should be the one to take the floor since we are practicing bicameral legislature, but they did not.
“They gathered at the International Conference Centre (ICC), which is so far away from the vicinity of the National Assembly. At least, they should have been the ones to be there first, to make sure they lead their people inside. But they did not do that, and now they are paying the price for that.”
The former Senate President added: “Now, today, we are grappling with the issue of party supremacy. Party is ephemeral and the legislature should stand for democratic governance for Nigerians.”
He maintained that party supremacy cannot be enforced on the senate floor.
He also insisted that Nigerians should attempt to document occurrences in the political sphere like Uganwa had done, since a number of actors often want to re-write history.
He said that for instance, some of the main financiers of the aborted Third term campaign have already started denying the matter because it is against the grain of national discourse.
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ghali Umar Na’Abbah, who was chairman of the book launch said he was impressed that the author captured the critical moments in the life of the National Assembly, adding that he remained committed to the independence of the legislature just like the period he served as Speaker.