By Levinus Nwabughiogu, Omeiza Ajayi & Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA—Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said, yesterday, that no date had been fixed for the reconvening of the National Assembly to consider the budget of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
This came on a day All Progressives Congress, APC, accused the Senate president of high treason, noting that it had also uncovered plans by Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to attack its senators as a way of frustrating their efforts to effect a change in the leadership of the Senate.
But PDP, in a swift reaction, described APC’s allegation as laughable and childish, saying the insinuation showed that the Buhari Presidency and the ruling party had come to a wits end in their plot to “illegally” impeach Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu.
Media advisers of the two leaders of Parliament stated, yesterday, that the leadership of the National Assembly was waiting for a report of a joint committee of both chambers to reconvene the Parliament.
The statement was signed by Yusuph Olaniyonu, Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to Senate President and Turaki Hassan, Special Adviser (Media and Public Affairs) to Speaker, House of Representatives.
It read: “The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, have directed that we inform all senators, members of the House of Representatives and the public that a date has not been set for the reconvening of the Senate and the House of Representatives to consider Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, 2019 elections budget request forwarded by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 17, 2018.
“The leadership of the two chambers had met and agreed to reconvene to consider the proposal this week before which a meeting between the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Electoral Matters and officials of the INEC must have held on or before Monday, August 13, 2018.
“The joint committees were also expected to meet with the joint Senate and House Committees on Appropriations, Loans and Debts on the Eurobond loan request after which two reports would have been ready for presentation in the two chambers.
“However, no such meeting had taken place yet as a result of which both Senate and House of Representatives cannot reconvene as there is no report to consider.
“Until the committees have a ready report for the consideration of the two chambers, it will be most irresponsible to recall members from recess, especially those that may have travelled to Saudi Arabia for hajj.”
APC accuses Saraki of ‘high treason’
Meanwhile, APC has accused the Senate President of high treason, saying his actions, which bothered on placing personal interest above national interest, must be curtailed.
“While Saraki and his cohorts continue to postpone their doomsday regarding the imminent Senate leadership change, the yet-to-be considered 2019 budget of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is dangerously delayed. Clearly, Saraki’s actions as Senate President now bother on high treason,” APC declared in a statement signed by Acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena.
It stated further: “By this statement, we call on security agents to protect APC senators. If any senator is harmed, the PDP and Saraki should be held directly responsible. We call on security agencies to also closely monitor the activities of some PDP leaders, including Saraki, because the plan to attack APC senators is real and imminent.”
APC hallucinating —PDP
Reacting to APC’s allegations, yesterday, PDP said the ruling party was hallucinating by linking it with any attempt to attack anybody, including senators, stressing that Nigerians were aware that, if anything, it was the APC that had been involved in sponsoring violence and attacks in the residences of the presiding officers of the Senate and the National Assembly.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, who reacted to the allegations, urged the leadership of the ruling party to perish any thought of having the capacity to impeach Saraki and Ekweremadu.
“Equally derisive is the APC’s claims that it is in talks with some PDP senators to get a two-thirds vote to impeach the Senate presiding officers when it is public knowledge that all PDP senators are loyal to their party and had already pledged their loyalty to the presiding officer which they elected by themselves.”