•APC restates bid to oust Saraki, says it doesn’t need money to remove him
•Plans on to force NASS open, replace Saraki with Adamu, says R-APC
•Alleges that PDP senators on EFCC list to be given clean bill if they defect
•Hold FG, APC responsible for threat to democracy — PDP
•NNPC denies financing Saraki’s impeachment
By Henry Umoru, Omeiza Ajayi & Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA— The All Progressives Congress, APC, and its splinter group, Reformed All Progressives Congress, R-APC, were yesterday locked in a war of words over alleged plans by the former to induce each senator with N50 million to forcibly reconvene, with a view to unseating the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
APC restated its desire to remove the Senate President from office, but noted that rather than expending millions of Naira of public funds on the effort, it would deploy its numerical strength in the upper chamber to get Saraki out of the way.
The R-APC alleged that the government has decided to use force to reconvene the National Assembly because using legal means to remove the Senate President will be a difficult process.
It added that once the Senate leadership is overthrown, the Senate would immediately consider the virement budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and also approve pending nominations in the Senate.
The APC government is also alleged to be reaching out to some Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, senators, especially those who have Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, queries in order to give them a clean bill once they defect to the APC.
APC plotting to replace Saraki with Adamu, says R-APC
R-APC in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Prince Kassim Afegbua, in Abuja yesterday, said if government succeeds in removing Saraki, he would be replaced by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa West).
The statement read: “The rumours making the rounds that Senator Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, would be impeached by crook or hook has remained unabated in the last few days.
“We can bring you news that the disputed leadership of the APC, working in cahoots with the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, coupled with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, have perfected their plans to apply gestapo methods to forcibly unseat the Senate President.
“A high-powered meeting of these persons was held at the Maitama residence of the disputed chairman of the APC on Thursday, August 2, 2018 where they brainstormed on the possible ways to carry out their illegality.
“The meeting which lasted for three hours, insider source confirmed to us at the R-APC, explored both legal and illegal approaches to execute the assignment of ensuring that Dr. Bukola Saraki ceases to be the Senate President.
“Having met a brickwall going by the legal processes involved before the Senate can be re-opened, the disputed APC leadership is toying with the barbaric idea of forcibly opening the National Assembly, reconvening the Senate and using the senators of the APC to preside over the planned impeachment. “Senator Abdullahi Adamu has been penciled down to succeed Senator Bukola Saraki, amid a host of other changes in the Senate’s principal officers. Once the Senate leadership is overthrown in a coup d’etat manner, the Senate will immediately consider the virement budget of INEC and also approve pending nominations in the Senate.
“Part of the plot was to reach out to some PDP senators, especially those who have EFCC queries in order to give them a clean bill of health once they defect to the APC. They also agreed to woo some senators with the sum of N50 million.
“We are by this statement alerting the nation and the international community of these barbaric and primitive plots aimed at deliberately over-heating the system and undermine law and order by sheer use of brute force.
“We are raising alarm because of the dangers these portend for democracy, especially in an already fragile political atmosphere that has played host to several fluctuations and militarization in the last two weeks.
“Part of the plot is to seek out what they called a “friendly judge” where they could procure either a black-market injunction or Jankara Court order that would be used as alibi for the planned impeachment and take-over of the National Assembly.
“We find all these plots as burdensome for a system that was already undergoing storm and stress, thus making us object of ridicule in the eyes of the world. It is benumbing to note that those who usually occupy the front seats when democracy is being discussed, are the architects of these orchestrated plots peculiar to military regimes.
Calling on Osinbajo
“Even when we understand that they could be carry-over effects of military regime, we never knew they have assumed this frightening dimension.
“We are, therefore, calling on the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, GCON, a Professor of Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, to please call these persons to order to avoid a needless breakdown of law and order. In any civilized democracy, rule of law and not rule of man is usually the common denominator to engage the democratic process.
“This idea of wrongfully deploying the Nigeria Police Force against the people they were meant to protect, has made us mere object of ridicule in the eyes of the world. As a fledgling democracy with all the symptoms of fragility, it is a collective responsibility for us to jealously nurture it to enviable heights where law and order will dictate our democratic engagements.
“We cannot continue to tolerate acts of omission and commission as the article of faith. Democracy thrives on decency, etiquette, discipline, rules and regulations, law and order which are the essential ingredients for building a representative government that caters for the wishes and aspirations of all.
“To the members of the international community, we are asking that you withdraw the visas that were earlier issued to these undemocratic elements among us who have continued to unleash mayhem on statutory authorities for less than altruistic motives.
“We are also appealing that the international community should stop giving visas to these categories of persons who often run away to seek refuge once they finished executing their dastardly, ungodly and indecent acts.
“We are already compiling the names of those undemocratic persons for onward transmission to all embassies and foreign missions to either withdraw their visas or refuse them fresh visas.
“The provisions of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) stipulates in no ambiguous terms procedure to follow in electing a Senate President and removal of same. All the arm-twisting methods and trying to be clever-by-half approach will only further compound an already bad situation. The plot and its execution is an ill-wind that will blow no one any good.
“While the APC on the one hand condemns the PDP and the defectors as inconsequential politicians, it is curious on the other hand to note that the APC has devoted consolidated interest in ensuring that it gets some PDP stalwarts into its fold.
“This double-faced conduct is suggestive of APC’s identity crisis, pretentiousness and sanctimoniousness. At the risk of sounding superfluous, APC could be likened to the Chichidodo bird that feeds on maggots but hates the smell of faeces; such curious irony that typifies the true reflection of a party in search of its true identity.
“While it celebrates her members, no matter how questionable their characters, it demonizes other members of political parties who are not in agreement with its present desperate re-election peregrination.
“It is not an accident of history that each time the President travels for medical attention, something dramatic often takes place. And this present trip, we believe, will unfurl already plotted schemes aimed at removing Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom and other perceived persons opposed to the re-election of Mr. President.”
APC restates desire to oust Saraki
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress, APC, has restated its desire to remove the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, from office, but was quick to state that rather than expending millions of Naira of public funds on the project, it would deploy its numerical strength in the Senate to get him out of office.
The party was responding to media inquiries about the allegations from its splinter group, Reformed APC, which accused it of deploying public funds on a clearly partisan venture.
“It is the cry of a drowning man. Kassim Afegbua and his cohorts are trying to elicit sentiments and to make futile attempts at denting the integrity of the APC-led government,” Yekini Nabena, acting Publicity Secretary of the APC said.
Nabena said the reason most APC members are defecting was the fact President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was not sharing money, which is the PDP’s philosophy.
He added: “This administration cannot inject tax-payers’ money into impeaching the President of the Senate or Speaker of the House of Representatives. This is a serious government and not a dead party called the PDP.
“What PDP is doing is to whip up sentiments before their final burial in 2019. National Assembly members have procedures on how a Speaker or President of the Senate can be impeached. And we believe that the APC lawmakers know their rules and they will apply it accordingly.
“The hierarchy of the APC has no business spending money to impeach these people because APC still commands the majority in both Houses. Since Saraki has gone back to where he came from, he cannot preside over majority APC lawmakers. Therefore, we will use our numerical strength to remove him following the rule of law.
“So, let the PDP propaganda machine continue to raise false alarm. We will remain focused and ensure that President Buhari is not distracted by charlatans. Very soon, we shall separate the men from the boys.”
Hold FG responsible, if….— PDP
Reacting to the development, People Democratic Party, PDP, asked Nigerians and the international community to hold the federal government responsible should the nation’s democracy fall under any harm in the coming days.
The party also warned that any attempt to forcibly take over control of the National Assembly was a direct recipe for crisis and anarchy, adding that such a move will be directly resisted by Nigerians.
In a statement issued yesterday by the party’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP accused the ruling party of working hand-in-gloves with security agencies to illegally change the leadership of the National Assembly.
The statement read: “Nigerians would recall that we alerted the nation that the purported overseas vacation by President Muhammadu Buhari was to enable his cabal overrun the National Assembly in a manner reminiscent of the siege at the Benue State House of Assembly, so as to sack the current elected Senate leadership and install their stooges.
“When this is done, the Buhari Presidency will in its characteristic response, claim that ‘Mr. President is unaware.
“The PDP cautions, in the strongest possible terms, that Nigeria as a nation will never allow such direct assault to the highest symbol of our integrity as a democratic state.
“The laws of our nation regarding the sanctity and sovereignty of our legislature are clear and our citizens will never allow any person or group of persons, no matter the circumstances, undermine the constitutional integrity of the legislature as representatives of the people.
“Any attempt to tempt the will of the people in this direction is a clear recipe for very serious crisis.
“The laid down rules for reconvening the Senate whenever it is on recess, which must be followed when it becomes compelling to reopen the senate on a date order than the earlier adjourned date, are clear and direct.
“In such a circumstance, Order 12(2) of the Senate Standing Rule (2015) clearly vests such powers and functions on the Senate President, who shall give notice of such new date and time.
“Anything outside the provision of the law is a direct coup not only against the National Assembly but also on our entire democratic system. It is a clear recipe for anarchy of monumental proportion capable of dis-articulating our nation.”