By Henry Umoru, Kinsley Omonobi, Dirisu Yakubu and Adekunle Aliyu
Two Senate Committee Chairmen have taken a swipe at the Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Abu Ibrahim, APC, Katsina South, who warned that the Senate will not witness peace if the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, fails to resign from his present position.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Senator Isa Hamma Misau, PDP, Bauchi Central, and Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, PDP, Kwara South, asked Ibrahim to do his worst.
Misau and Ibrahim also warned Ibrahim and those they described as his fellow travelers in the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to foment any trouble when the Senate resumes on September 25, as Saraki will never quit his position.
Misau and Ibrahim, in a joint statement in reaction to an interview granted by the senator representing President Muhammadu Buhari’s senatorial district, stated that Ibrahim and his colleagues will meet their match if they tried anything illegal “even with all the deployment of security forces which they might have been assured of by the executive arm of government”.
According to them, the APC-led government had always demonstrated contempt for the legislature, which “explained why the government in 38 months has only forwarded to the National Assembly 11 Executive bills”.
The two Senate Committee Chairmen spoke on a day a human rights activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), said the President lacked the power to reconvene a National Assembly in legal recess.
Ozekhome’s statement came against the backdrop of the alleged moves by some forces loyal to Buhari to reconvene the Senate with the sole mission to impeach Saraki in the aftermath of his defection from the APC, the ruling part at the federal level.
Meanwhile, a presidential aide, Lauretta Onochie, yesterday, listed what she described as the many sins of the Senate President to include being the clog in the wheel of development in Nigeria.
Also, yesterday, a former presidential aide and a chieftain of the Accord Party (AP), Dr. Doyin Okupe, described as an irony the claim by Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, that defections of some federal lawmakers to the opposition party in 2014 was legal whereas similar defections were not legal in 2018.
The fireworks started, last week, after Saraki defected from the APC to the PDP, one week after 14 senators from the ruling party also dumped the APC.
APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, in a reaction, asked Saraki to quit as Senate President before Ibrahim said the Senate will witness no peace if Saraki did not resign.
The Senate went on annual recess immediately after the 14 senators quit APC and are not expected to resume until September.
‘Do your worst’
The statement by Misau and Ibrahim read, “It is obvious from the statements of Abu Ibrahim that he and his cohorts are not democrats. They do not believe in the rule of law, the provisions of the Constitution, the Standing Order of the Senate, parliamentary procedure and the due process.
“How will a supposed democrat be threatening disruption of peace in the parliament because his party lost members and lost its majority status?
His statements showed why one of them led thugs to disrupt the proceeding of the Senate, stole the mace, the symbol of authority of the legislature, and yet there is no consequence. Both the mastermind and his thugs have been protected from being prosecuted. Now, Abu Ibrahim has given us an insight into what they are planning and we will be ready for them.
“APC should note that they are now the minority party. PDP has more members. When we resume, if they push us, we will move for a head count of members and change some of our principal officers to reflect party strength. Today, by the list paraded by APC themselves, they have only 48 senators and PDP has 54, APGA has 2 and ADC has 2. There are two vacancies. That is the distribution in the Senate. Let them continue to deceive themselves.
“We will use our strength to defend the position of the present leadership of the Senate under Dr. Saraki and Senator Ike Ekweremadu. We will defend democracy and rule of law against the pretenders. We will show that every Senator represent different constituencies in our country.
“We urge him and his colleagues to know that if they tried anything illegal and indecent, we will resist it through legal means. They saw an instance with the way our colleagues in the House of Representatives quickly gathered to foil their failed coup early this (last) week”.
Ozekhome, in a statement, yesterday, said that the President of the country, whether substantive or inherent, does not have any powers, legal or constitutional, to reconvene a Senate already on recess, saying that Section 60 of the Constitution provides that “the Senate or the House of Representatives shall have power to regulate its own procedure”.
Ozekhome said, “It would tantamount to a grave constitutional anathema and legal hara-kiri for the President or any faction of the Senate to forcefully or unilaterally reconvene an already adjourned Senate, which is on its annual recess, before the expiration of the vacation period”.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria added that only the Senate President or, in his absence, the Deputy Senate President, that can reconvene a properly adjourned session when the Senate is on its annual recess.
“The only time the President can be constitutionally and legally involved in matters concerning Senate or House of Representatives sitting is as provided for in sections 64(3) and 105 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, as altered.
“This allows the President to make a proclamation for the National Assembly to be inaugurated at the beginning of a legislative session”.
Okupe blasts Falana
Speaking on the defections in the National Assembly, a former presidential aide, Okupe, at the weekend, berated Falana for saying the defections were unconstitutional.
He described Falana’s stance on the defections as ‘double speak,’ placing side by side his comment on the same matter in 2014 and his current position.
In a tweet, Okupe wrote: “Falana’s Double Speak on Defections 2014: It is lawful by constitutional provision of freedom of association.The choice is the beauty of democracy. 2018: It is unconstitutional. HABA!!!”
Lauretta Onochie, Buhari’s aide on social media, yesterday, reacted to the defection of Saraki from the APC in an article titled, ‘The Many Sins of Dr Bukola Saraki Against APC and The APC-led Government’, listing the sins she perceived the Senate President must have committed.
One of the sins, she said, was that Saraki was a clog in the wheel of progress of the development of Nigeria and the implementation of the policies of the administration
Another, according to her, was the non-confirmation of the EFCC Chairman sent in by the President, thus “impeding and threatening to derail the fight against corruption”.
While accusing Saraki of giving preference to PDP members in committee appointments in the Senate, she listed as another sin as the delay in the confirmation of the Boards for AMCON, CBN, NERC, NSADA, ICPC, among others.
The presidential aide said Saraki gave the Deputy Senate President to the opposition party just as the “Senate President placed roadblocks to the actualization of government’s promises to Nigerians”.
Below are the ‘Many Sins of Dr Bukola Saraki Against APC and The APC Led Government’ by Lauretta Onochie
APC is the most tolerant political party in the world. No other party would accommodate Dr. Saraki the way APC did till we could take no more. Here are a few of his sins. Just a few obvious ones that are in the public domain:
• Non-confirmation of EFCC Chairman sent in by the President impeding and threatening to derail the fight against corruption.
• Giving preference to PDP members in committee appointments in the Senate.
• Delay in the confirmation of the boards for AMCON, CBN, NERC, NSADA, ICPC, among others.
• Giving the Deputy Senate President to the opposition party.
•Placing roadblocks to the actualization of government’s promises to Nigerians.
• Constituting a clog in the wheel of progress of the development of the country and the implementation of the policies of the administration.
• Joining forces with the opposition to ridicule President Buhari’s fight against corruption.
• Stole money from the APC Campaign during the Presidential campaign in 2015 and starved the Campaign Council of funds.
• Maintains a relationship with a gang of armed robbers who have been notorious for disturbing the peace of good people of Kwara State.
• Rallied corrupt elements to buy his Senate Presidency seat against the wishes of the Party.
• Currently inducing Senators with $100,000 each to suffocate PMB’s government in the Senate.