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APC Won’t Present Opportunists Like Saraki, Dogara – Oshiomhole |RN

John Alechenu, Abuja

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, has vowed that the party will not field people he described as opportunists who seek to use the party’s platform to pursue their selfish interests.

He said the party had learnt from its past mistakes and was prepared to make amends by ensuring that “bread and butter politicians” were not given the party’s tickets to contest the forthcoming general elections.

Oshiomhole said this while addressing members of the APC Governorship and National Assembly screening committees in Abuja, on Monday.

Although Oshiomhole didn’t mention the names of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who dumped the party for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, events he mentioned relate to the actions taken by them.

The APC national chairman said, “We do not want to field opportunists who are simply seeking a political vehicle for some selfish purposes.

“What has happened in recent past is enough for us to begin to look at the character of those who are seeking office in the APC platform.

“If before now we have taken for granted the powers of the National Assembly, how those powers can be used for national goals and how it can also be misused to undermine national progress.

“The current situation we are facing here, where two principal officers have chosen to put their personal interest over and above the national interest.

“Refusing to consider budget meant for physical infrastructure. Budget meant to re-order the way our budget is executed, to move money away from consumption, which recurrent expenditure represents, to capital projects, which will benefit our people.”

He also said it was sad that the National Assembly was delaying the passage of the budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission for the 2019 elections.

Oshiomhole explained that the party would henceforth ensure that only persons with the intellectual capacity to articulate issues on the basis at which laws and bills were considered as well as those with the capacity to carry out oversight functions to ensure that Nigerians get value for money would be those considered worthy of the party’s tickets.

This is even as he said the party would not abandon the 57 senators who remained faithful to the party during the trying times.

He said, “For us as a party, we have chosen to learn from the positive lessons from this development so that we do not repeat those mistakes by selecting people who as far as human capacity is we can assess and predict that if elected, they will remain faithful not only to our party but more importantly to the Nigerian nation.

“As we speak, I am proud that we have 57 senators who have refused to be induced or misled or otherwise manipulated into moving to other parties or reward for juicy positions.

“It will be ungodly for us as a party not to reward those who believe in the party and the government of the day led by President Muhammadu Buhari.”

The former Edo State governor equally expressed regret that the party’s National Working Committee was still grappling with the “fraudulent” state congresses conducted by the previous party executive.

He said, “In many of the states, we had challenges arising from the way congresses were conducted. Many of them were quite fraudulent; that has been the challenge we have been trying to resolve since we came.

“Screening of aspirants is not a formality. That is why we tried to search for men and women of integrity who cannot be compromised.”

Some aspirants seeking the party’s ticket to contest for the Senate and House of Representatives seats have expressed apprehension over the comments made by the chairman.

One of those who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution said, “This goes to confirm some of our fears.

“My colleagues and I were discussing the news that the party leadership has a list of preferred candidates and this whole screening thing is meant to give legitimacy to their scheme. We are watching and waiting.”   (Punch)

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Buhari Has No Vision, Capacity To Develop Nigeria, Says Saraki |RN

                                         President Muhammadu Buhari

Simon Utebor, Yenagoa

 

The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, says that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, lacks the vision, capacity and the patience to develop the country.

Saraki made the comment on Thursday when he led his Presidential campaign team on a courtesy visit to Governor Seriake Dickson at Government House, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

The Senate President asked Nigerians to replace the current leadership provided by the APC, saying that the party had caused disunity in the country.

Saraki stressed that the country was in dire need of a leader like him with a demonstrable capacity to unite the deeply divided country and create a sense of belonging through fair distribution of appointments in the country.

He argued that it was indeed impossible for anybody to give what he doesn’t have as shown by the inadequacies of the current APC leaders.

He further said that the country was in need of a young vibrant leader with the capacity to withstand the rigours of governance at all times.

He said that running governance must be accompanied with the inseparable willingness and capacity to give all-round attention to the demands of the job.

The Senate President, who also spoke on the raging debate on restructuring, stated that it would be wrong to perceive restructuring as a move to develop a few states.

Saraki said that restructuring would create opportunities for the respective states of the federation to actualise their developmental potential and ensure national growth in the interest of the future generation of Nigerians.

He stated, “2019 is a very crucial election for this country; we are at the crossroads as we have never been so disunited as we are today.

“Wherever you go, people ask questions: where do you belong? We need to address the issue of unity in this country; it is time for everybody to have a seat on the table, a time for everyone to have a sense of belonging in this country. It is not about me.

“There is a new order in the world today, wherever we go, we see leaders that have a vision, that are ready to develop their countries. A lot of us talked about the Asian tigers, but they did not come by chance, or trial and error, they became tigers because they have visionary leaders.

“They are leaders that are ready to defend their countries, that have an idea of what they want to do.  As I keep on saying, you cannot give what you don’t have.

“Where we are now, we have a leadership that has no vision for us. We must bring visionary leadership to the presidential level so we can move this country forward.”

In his remarks, Governor Dickson said that the time had come for the country to move away from the evil of bigotry and indeed a leadership founded on feelings of sectional superiority.

He restated the position of the elders and leaders of the Niger Delta that the 2019 election would be a referendum on restructuring.

He said, “We must get quickly to that point where we build a new Nigeria; where to be appointed as Director General of the Department of State Services or the Chief of Army Staff, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and to be whatever you want to be, you don’t need to come from a particular tribe, or someone who worships one type of God or another.”

The presidency, in its reaction, described Saraki’s comment as crude, condemnable and derogatory of the President.

In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, the Presidency, however, called on Buhari’s supporters to display restraint in language and conduct.

Noting that Saraki’s sole aim of joining the PDP was contesting for the President, Shehu said the Senate President had shown himself to be a very dangerous person who could go any length to promote his personal interests.

The statement read, “The Presidency wishes to react to the crude speeches hitting the news from Senator Bukola Saraki, who recently joined the PDP with the sole ambition of running as the president of Nigeria.

“In response to the condemnable and extremely derogatory speeches by the PDP aspirant, we urge all Buhari supporters to display restraint in language and conduct and to always put across their points of view in a decent language.

“Throughout his political career, Senator Saraki has shown that he is a very dangerous person who can go any length to promote his personal interests.

“The language of his campaign is such that cannot be used against a domestic help.

“Does he just know that the President lacked vision? This is someone that the Senator had worked with very closely for more than three years.

“Amazingly, he never said all that he is now saying against him. Rather, his words for and on the President were always respectful and reassuring.

“That’s the man he called ‘My Father,” about him “there is no cause for alarm…a President who is healthy, witty and himself.’ What then changed, all of a sudden?

“Is he saying these blatantly false and crude things against the President because he is running for the same office? Could it be that he is targeting President Buhari because the party he just joined does not have any real issues to highlight?”  (Punch)

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Saraki, Tambuwal Left APC Because They Wanted Automatic Tickets – Tinubu

Bola-Ahmed-Tinubu

APC national leader, Alhaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu

The defectors “left the party to return to a motley agglomeration that would promise them what true democracy could not: automatic tickets…”

Senate President Bukola Saraki and Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and others defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) because the party could not offer them an automatic ticket and unfettered access to the public till.

National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who made the claim in a statement he personally signed, entitled: “They Go Away Because We Go the Right Way,” said the defectors “left the party to return to a motley agglomeration that would promise them what true democracy could not: automatic tickets, sharing of the national wealth and other offices and privileges.”

The former Lagos State governor asked the people to go beyond the debate on the numbers in the Senate and the House of Representatives, saying, “we must pull back from the shallow headlines to recognise that something fundamental is at stake.

“Nigeria is undergoing a historic transition. Sometimes awkwardly, tentatively, yet inexorably, we nurture political and governance reform. We steadily close the door on the old malpractices that have caused a rich nation to reside in the tenement of the global poor.”

Speaking specifically on the Sokoto governor’s defection, the APC leader said: “Governor Tambuwal’s exit can be distilled to one cause. He covets the presidency. However, he had not the stomach to challenge President Buhari in a primary. Tambuwal felt further insulted that he would be compelled to face a direct primary just to retain the governorship nomination.

“But for the promise made by PDP headliners like Rivers State Governor Wike that he would have the PDP presidential nomination, Tambuwal would not have left. His exit had nothing to do with the governance of the nation. It was about forging a personal ambition predicated on the defeat of progressive reform not the advancement of it.”

On Senate President, he said: “Much the same for Senate President Saraki. Returning to the PDP, he harbours dreams of the presidency but Tambuwal’s ambition will dwarf Saraki’s when the two collide. If Saraki had remained in the APC, he would be unable to reclaim his Senate seat let alone the Senate Presidency. He thus bolted because he lusts for the presidency but was promised by the PDP, at least, a return to his position in the Senate. “For Saraki to talk about lack of governance is for him to deny who he is and the position he holds. This man stands as Nigeria’s Number three citizen. Clothed is he in ample power and influence. If he saw areas where the government and the nation needed help, he could have easily applied his energies to these areas. He could have drafted legislation and easily got laws passed.

“However, no progressive enactment bears his name for he cared not for progress. He has been more focused on changing the rules of the Senate to favour himself and changing the order of elections so as to coincide with his selfish designs.”

Part of the statement read: “The defections of some people from the APC have generated sensational headlines and exaggerated talk as to what their departures foretell for the APC, the party to which
I belong. Some have predicted the demise of the APC. Those who hope for our decline will be disappointed by the inaccuracy of their desires. The days, months and years ahead will bury such errant forecasts for these predictions are born more of bitterness than of objective analysis.

Much of the attention has centred on which party now controls this or that state and which party maintains a majority in the National Assembly. These considerations are important to members of the political class and the electoral calculations of the political parties. But these calculations cannot be all there is. We must be careful not to reduce our horizon to a mere accounting of elected officials moving from one party to another.

Many in the political class believe this scorekeeping between the parties encompasses all that is important. For such people, the mere holding of office is the sole objective. The quality of governance they provide means little to them. Yet, there are greater things at stake than the fortunes of individual politicians. The people of Nigeria focus their attention on something materially different than this narrow political game.

The people are more deeply concerned with the quality of governance they experience than with the intense cunning by which the political game is played. They are more interested in helpful policies than in the tempests created by politicians in pursuit of personal ambitions. That which provides a better life in a more prosperous nation is what beckons to them. That which shines in the eye of the political opportunist is dross to the average person.

We must pull back from the shallow headlines to recognise that something fundamental is at stake.

Nigeria is undergoing a historic transition. Sometimes awkwardly, tentatively, yet inexorably, we nurture political and governance reform. We steadily close the door on the old malpractices that have caused a rich nation to reside in the tenement of the global poor. The corruption of the past is ending; for it must end if we are to fulfil our collective purpose. With this correction, less public money will be diverted to private benefit. More will be afforded to the causes of the people. The economy is being transformed so that the average person will have a better chance of finding a better life.

We move toward a more democratic union. The old days where a handful of uninformed men and those with deep pockets decided everything for everybody are being swept away. The will of the people can no longer be ignored. Those who would be the masters over the people must now be public servants. A party or elected official may no longer rule over the people. They must govern for the benefit of the people.

By so doing, the arc of our national progress is shaped. Not everyone is happy with this trajectory. As a whole, the political class must relinquish some of its power and wealth so people can enjoy a more equitable portion of the national enterprise.

This is the correct and perhaps inevitable course Nigeria must pursue.

To their credit, many politicians see the need for reform and even champion it. Yet, there are those in the political class who scheme against collective improvement. They seek to halt progress toward a fairer nation. They seek to hold to the old ways. The difference between the two parties and why some people returned to their PDP conclave must be seen in this light.

This is more than the competition over numbers. What rests in the balance is not whether one party has more elected officials on its roster, but which party has the right mindset and policies to reform Nigeria that she may become what goodness demands of her. We are in a locked battle to define the future of this nation and the quality of its governance. This battle pits one party, the APC, with all of its imperfections, that seeks national reforms against another party, the PDP, which symbolizes the perfection of the most selfish designs of the most selfish politicians among us.

This moral battle informed the recent defections. Those who belong to that PDP mode of thought could find no permanent comfort in walking the path of progressive reform and progress. All the things we have inaugurated such as school-feeding programs for poor pupils, social security for poor families, affordable housing programs, greater access to credit for small businesses and greater access to education and health care, these things the defectors could not well abide. They detested President Buhari’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) innovation because it barred them from misdirecting funds into a maze of unaudited accounts from which they could syphon as they pleased. Buhari cut off their clandestine illicit spigot.  (The Sun)

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Senators Sue AGF, DSS, Police For Alleged Plot To Remove Saraki |RN

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki

Eniola Akinkoutu, Abuja

Two lawmakers, Senator Rafiu Adebayo and Senator Isa Misau, have sued the Attorney-General of the Federation, the police, the Department of State Services, the Senate and seven others in order to stop the attempts to remove Senate President Bukola Saraki.

Senators Adebayo and Misau, who are supporters of Saraki, instituted the fresh court action marked FHC/ABJ/CS/872/2018 before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday.

Other defendants in the suit are the majority and deputy majority leaders of the Senate, the Clerk of the Senate, the Deputy Clerk of the Senate, the Senate President, the Deputy Senate President and the Deputy Minority Leader.

In the originating summons filed on their behalf by Mahmud Magaji (SAN), the plaintiffs want the Federal High Court to determine whether in view of the provisions of Section 50(1) (a) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution, Saraki, who defected to another political party as a result of the division in his former party, can be made to vacate his office other than in accordance with Section 50 of the constitution.

Adebayo and Misau, who represent Kwara-South and Bauchi-Central senatorial districts respectively, also want the court to determine whether Saraki can be compelled to vacate his office on the grounds that he is not a member of the political party with a majority of senators in the Senate in view of the combined reading of Section 50 of the constitution and Order 3 Rule 8 of the Senate Standing Orders.

The court was also urged to determine whether the Senate President could be said to have vacated his office by virtue of Section 50(2) of the constitution when he had not ceased to be a member of the Senate or the Senate dissolved.

In a motion on notice filed along with the originating summons, the plaintiffs prayed the court for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining all the defendants (except the Senate, Senate President and Deputy Senate President) jointly and severally either by themselves, their agents, servants and privies from unlawfully removing the Senate President pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

They also prayed the court for another order of interlocutory injunction restraining the AGF and the Inspector-General of Police from unlawfully interfering with the lawful legislative duties of the Senate President pending the hearing and determination of their originating summons.

Besides, the plaintiffs asked for an order of interlocutory injunction stopping the IG and the DSS from harassing, intimidating, arresting or detaining the President of the Senate in respect of the lawful exercise of his duties pursuant to Section 50(1) of the constitution and another order directing parties in the case to maintain status quo pending the determination of the substantive matter.

The motion was predicated on seven grounds amongst which were that the agents of the IG and DSS had taken steps to flagrantly breach the provisions of Section 50 by employing their agents to disrupt the plenary of the Senate without recourse to the said provisions.

Other grounds were that the constitutional provision of removal of the Senate President does not empower the AGF, police and DSS to unlawfully interfere with the legislative duties of the Senate by causing a blockade at the premises of the National Assembly complex or using their agents to disrupt the lawful duties of the Senate.

In a 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion on notice and deposed to by Senator Isah Misau, he averred that the Senate was a body recognised and established by the 1999 Constitution vested with powers of making laws for the good governance and well-being of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The deponent averred that the Senate held a plenary sitting between July 24 and 27 and that it was presided over by its President and that at the end of the sitting members adjourned till September 25.

Misau claimed that the All Progressives Congress as a platform for the Senate President had been bedevilled by crises resulting in divisions and factionalisation at the federal, state and local government levels.  (Punch)

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Saraki’s Time Is Over, Says Oshiomhole |The Republican News

Adams-oshiomhole-new3

“I think Saraki’s time is over. He fails to understand that the Nigerian national projcect is not at his mercy or the mercy of his own dynasty.”

Excerpts of an address by the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, ADAMS OSHIOMHOLE, at a press conference in Abuja last week

Basically, to respond to some of the issues raised by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at the press conference he addressed two days ago. It is important we addressed some of the issues he canvassed so that the public is not misled into turning villains into heroes and twisting the facts that are really no secret to the Nigerian public. But it is important that we help the public to refresh their memories and arrive at their own individual judgement.

First, the Senate President raised the issue of the fact that he has always acted not on the basis of his own personal interest; that he has always acted on the basis of national interest. The truth is it is doubtful if the Senate President has ever acted either in the national interest or in the interest of his own political party before his defection recently.

Without going back to ancient history, suffice to start by looking at how, in the first instance, Senator Bukola Saraki became the President of the Senate. He decided, clearly against the party’s position, to enter into a deal with the opposition PDP and got a faction of the PDP and taking advantage of the provisions in the Constitution to side with him while the majority of the APC senators were having a meeting at the International Conference Centre in order to resolve the issue of leadership of the Senate and other principal officers of the Senate that is expected to be produced by the ruling party with majority senators in the Senate. Because he had put his personal interest over and above the interest of the party when he went into alliance with the PDP and he conceded the position of Deputy Senate President to the opposition in order to obtain the support of the opposition for him, Senator Saraki, to become the Senate President.

So, for the first time in our democratic history in Nigeria, we had a situation, which, whereas the APC has the majority in the Senate, the Senate went on to elect a PDP person as Deputy Senate President. This action alone portrays Senator Saraki for who he is; his personal interest comes before any other interest, including the national interest, including the interest of his political party. Having gone into this unholy alliance with the opposition and mortgaged the right of the ruling party, he proceeded to appoint opposition senators to head strategic committees whose activities can affect, either for good or for bad, the workings of the government and relationship between the government and the legislature. Senator Saraki did that in order to continue to protect himself against the wish of his party as Senate President. Again, that shows that the only thing that was always constant in the mind of Senator Saraki was how to cling on to power even if it means at the expense of his party or even of the country, and I will speak to that.

You do not need to be a political activist or a partisan politician to appreciate that, in an election year, every government around the world will do everything possible to ensure that it is seen to be working for the people of the country. So, like any other, the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerians expected that it will do everything possible this year to make up for lost time in terms of budget implementation and addressing critical infrastructures without which sustainable development is impossible.

The Senate under Saraki chose instead to delay the budget up to the end of the first half of the year, to coincide with the period of the rainy season such that those aspects of infrastructure such as roads, for example, cannot really be constructed during the rainy season. These were not errors of the head on the part of Senator Saraki’s leadership. They were clearly designed to frustrate the capacity of President Buhari’s government to address the physical infrastructural deficit without which the ordinary man in the street cannot feel the impact of governance. Again, I want to plead that I am not about to reveal anything. On receipt of the budget by Mr President, after going through it, Mr President cried out that the budget that was handed over to him by the National Assembly under the leadership of the Senate President was a clear distortion of the well-thought-out budget proposal that was submitted to the National Assembly. Whereas Mr President appreciates that the National Assembly could make some alterations in the budget, he did not expect that the budget would be completely rewritten and so grossly distorted as to make far more provisions for recurrent expenditure such that there is very little left for capital projects without which the Nigerian people cannot benefit from governance. And the President said this budget would be difficult to implement. You have all heard the stories of budget padding and no budget padding, but on this occasion, I would rather not delve into those.

So, when I say that the Senate President has never put Nigeria first, I support this statement by the deliberate delay of the budget and the deliberate manipulation of provisions in the budget in a way that it would compromise the commitment of the government to address critical infrastructure. It is by now not a secret that as, Senate President, he conspired with others to try to create a sense of division within the ruling party, having failed to truncate the convention, where they assembled a couple of people who were neither delegates nor contestants for any of the offices at the convention to purport
to have formed a political party. There is nothing for me to add to the illegality of this action and the false foundation that the Senate President tried to lay. However, upon his illegal defection, which he had to do hurriedly because of the number of senators who he was playing on their fears that they would not be able to return to the Senate or that if they return they would be heading to prison if President Buhari is reflected. So, he had a situation whereby about 36 senators, who were on his list to defect, but consequent upon our election and our assumption of office, we took pre-emptive steps to reassure those senators. Many of you would not have witnessed the fact that the first meeting we had, a day after the convention, Sunday, June 24, 2018, the first person we met was Senator Bukola Saraki, to try to listen to whatever his grievances were and this I did in the company of the Vice President. At least, he was able to confess to that, when I tried to listen to negotiable or verifiable grievances. But, however, his real grievances are not negotiable. Which is about ambition, about values, and conflicting values of him as a person and the values of the APC. However, when he defected, however illegal his action was, he went to Ilorin to tell Ilorin people part of the truth, when he said, among other things, that he was leaving for two major reasons. Number one was that he alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari gave out over 200 juicy jobs without allocating some juicy jobs to him. And, he chose to speak for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, that even Dogara also was not given juicy positions. Again, I would have thought that not being a union leader, it is not for him to speak for the Speaker. The Speaker is well capable of speaking for himself. That is aside from the key issue, which was that he lamented that he was not given a share of the so-called 200 juicy positions. I asked, giving Senator Bukola Saraki, Senate President, juicy position, does that coincide with Nigeria’s public interest? Does that coincide with the interest of the people of Kwara State or the interest of the people of Senator Saraki’s senatorial district? At no time did he refer to the interest of his own constituency or the interest of Nigerians. The second reason he gave was that he was being persecuted. Again, even that, the alleged persecution of his person, not persecution of his people. Again, he never pretended that any of these actions have to do with the good people of Nigeria, they have to do with his person, to the extent that the alleged personal persecution of his person, not that of Kwara State people, or the people of his constituency or Nigerians. But, I think the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, was more explicit in corroborating Senator Saraki’s claim when he said he, as a governor, and Senator Saraki as Senate President, was being linked to armed robbery cases as part of their reason for defecting. Again, nothing to do with the Nigerian project, nothing to do with Kwara State people. However, what is the truth, as he linked the Senate President to armed robbery? Was it the Federal Government or arrested armed robbers? It was armed robbers who were arrested that alleged that the weapons with which they carried out their heinous crime, including the killing of about 35 indigenes of Kwara State, somewhere in Offa, that those weapons were procured for them. They made that allegation according to a police report, which is now known everywhere, so it is not a secret to be declassified

In support of my thesis that the Senate President has never acted with the Nigerian national interest in view, my final submission is the way in which he adjourned the Senate about two weeks ago. The Senate calendar is not a secret to the presiding officer of the Senate. The Senate calendar that was known was that the Senate was going to adjourn on a Thursday. By Tuesday morning or Monday night, Senator Saraki used his guest house, wrote out names of senators with provisions meant for signatories, for senators to decamp to the PDP from the APC. Happily, some of the senators present refused to sign. And that was what frustrated his calculation that by the time he was done, he was going to turn APC into a minority party in the Senate. For careful observers, is it a coincidence that as the Senate President was reading defections, his counterpart in the House of Representatives was also simultaneously reading the names of those who defected. So, there was a coordination for defection day. But happily, the pre-emptive steps we have taken to address those with genuine grievances frustrated their number such that from 36, he could not get more than 14 senators to decamp. This was on a Tuesday, the calendar of the Senate stated that they were going to adjourn on a Thursday. So, between Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the Senate was expected, like I confirmed from the Senate Leader, to look into the supplementary budget for INEC. What INEC requirement is not the equipment you buy from the shelf. You must order them and make allowance for the manufacturers to produce them. You don’t buy them the way you buy a pack of cigarettes from the shelf. So, time is of the essence.

However, the Senate under Saraki’s directive adjourned without considering the matter that was before it, including the budget for INEC. Now, if Senator Saraki adjourned the Senate ahead of schedule to resume towards the end of party nominations, can that act be said to coincide with the national interest? If you decide to frustrate the INEC by denying it the funding that it requires, can you be said to be a defender of democracy? If INEC doesn’t get their funds and, therefore, are unable to conduct a credible election, would that not lead to further serious consequences for our democratic process and our democratic environment?

He also made an unsubstantiated allegation to the effect that the event of last Tuesday, that it was an attempt to carry out an illegal impeachment. How can a presiding office arrive at that conclusion that there was a plan to carry out an illegal impeachment? Until an action takes place how can you determine the status? If the act of impeachment is unlawful then you can probably understand where he is coming from. But, the truth is that it is lawful to impeach anyone including the President of the Senate, including the Deputy President of the Senate if the number required to do so is present. So, he cannot preempt that. As they say, you don’t have to be a pathological liar to understand this general saying that once you start with one lie you would need series of lies to support that one lie. I don’t want to use the word lies to characterise the action or the statements of the Senate President. Let us look at the facts. From their own statement, they said they were aware that the Senate President was illegally going to be impeached and, therefore, they mobilised thugs, their journalists, cameramen and video to the Senate building. They had told the world that they had adjourned till September 25. Meanwhile, about 15 PDP senators were in the Senate and for the effect they imported hundreds of thugs that molested one or two of our members that were sighted in the premises. And, in order to expose the lie, I ask you as defenders of democracy, did you find any APC senator in the Senate? So, if APC senators were not in the Senate and it was PDP senators that were in the Senate, what is the basis of the false claim that there was an attempt to carry out an illegal impeachment?

If he does not resign as Senate President, he will be impeached according to law, not by thuggery or anything that is undemocratic. He cannot sustain a minority rule in the Senate and that is what is hurting him as we speak. They have about 48 senators, we have 53 senators. So, how can 48 senators preside over 53 senators?

Let me conclude by saying that when I say the Senate President will be impeached, he will be impeached according to the law. And, the Constitution is clear on how a presiding officer can be impeached. And, because several impeachments have taken place, both on former Senate Presidents
and former Speakers, we are not about to witness what has never happened before; we have enough precedence to all back on.

I have looked at the Nigerian Constitution. It does not say that an impeachment, once mooted is by itself illegal. Until it is done and you look at how it is done, you cannot arrive at a conclusion whether the process was lawful or unlawful. I think Saraki’s time is over. The way he has manipulated the politics of Kwara State, he fails to understand that the Nigerian national project is far more complicated and it is not at his mercy or the mercy of his own dynasty.  (The Sun)

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You Can’t Decide Senate’s Leadership, PDP Tells Oshiomhole

   National Chairman, All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole

The Peoples Democratic Party on Sunday, asked the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, to stop his continued calls for the change of the leadership of the Senate, saying such was completely out of his decision.

The party urged Oshiomhole to also stop “his childish tantrums and get educated” on the fact that the positions of the Senate President and that of deputy Senate President did not belong to political parties but to Nigerians, who elected persons into the seats through their representatives in the Senate.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said Oshiomhole should also stop exposing his alleged ignorance in thinking that the Senate leadership could be changed by his “inconsequential orders as a factional chairman of a political party, when the law is settled that such power is vested only in the two-thirds votes, representing 73 of the 109 senators.”

Ologbondiyan added that Oshiomhole should know that the pressure allegedly being mounted by him on the issue would not yield any positive result.

He said, “We know that Oshiomhole is under intense pressure from the Presidency to overheat the polity, distract the National Assembly members and make as much effort to cause a constitutional crisis in the country, having realised that they cannot win the 2019 general elections.

“However, the PDP strongly cautions these desperate power grabbers to note that their actions have unlimited capacity to destroy our democracy.

“Nigerians have noted that since his imposition as the chairman of the APC, Mr Oshiomhole has done nothing but spewing hate speech and officially introducing a thug mentality into the polity, while causing confusion in every sector of our national life, including the Federal Executive Council, the security system, our legislature as well as in his dysfunctional APC, which as an undertaker, he is finally set to bury.

“Since Oshiomhole assumed office, the nation has witnessed various unimaginable constitutional infractions, including the invasion of the Benue State House of Assembly and the Ekiti State Government House by the APC-controlled federal security agencies, the escalated harassment of federal legislators and persons perceived to be averse to the APC’s re-election bid; the siege to the residences of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, by security agencies as well as the recent invasion of the National Assembly by security operatives.”

While calling on Nigerians and the international community to note the activities of Oshiomhole, as allegedly being directed by the Presidency, he said the PDP believed firmly the APC and the Presidency were fighting what he called a losing battle.

He added that they could not cow Nigerians into changing their resolve to end the nation’s nightmare by voting the APC out and returning the nation to the path of peace, national cohesion and economic prosperity. (Punch)

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Defection: APC Slams Saraki Again, Calls Him A Traitor, Betrayer |RN

 National Chairman, All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole

John Alechenu and Olaleye Aluko

 

The All Progressives Congress on Thursday launched a tirade against the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, calling him a traitor, betrayer and a man unfit to hold a public office.

The party’s renewed attack on Saraki was contained in a statement by the acting National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr Yekini Nabena, in Abuja.

According to the ruling party, the position of the Senate President is one of the highest political offices one can attain in every democratic country and it is a position usually reserved for the best, experienced and exemplary politicians who by their character and conduct in public offices, serve as role models for the younger generation.

The statement reads,  “In terms of exemplary personage, the reverse is the case in respect of the current Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, who has been a dismal failure and has been involved in one controversy or the other: budget padding, filibustering, legislative rascality, sabotage of matters of national interest, among other criminalities too numerous to mention.

“Having suffered under the 16-year misrule of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr Saraki will go down in our country’s history as the worst Senate President Nigeria has had the misfortune to have.

“Since his usurpation of the coveted seat, achieved through a wicked conspiracy with members of the opposition PDP, it has been from one controversy to another: the code of conduct trial for false declaration of assets; conspiracy with his deputy to fraudulently alter the rules of the Senate; and links to the deadly armed robbers who wasted many lives in the Offa robbery attack. It is alleged that some of the robbery suspects were his political thugs used to rig elections. A common adage says, “Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.”

The party argued that all over the world, the leadership of the legislature was provided by the political party with the majority members but Saraki took advantage of the absence of many members of his former party – the All Progressives Congress – to conspire with members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party to emerge Senate President and, in the process, traded off the position of the deputy Senate President to the opposition.

The APC described the alleged trade-off as “a political betrayal and treachery even the devil would be envious of.”

The party decried Saraki’s continued occupation of the position of Senate President even after he had dumped the majority party to join the minority.

It said it was not surprised at what it called the Senate President’s greed, selfishness, treachery, disregard for protocol and constituted authority.

The statement further read, “A traitor will always be a traitor, however the time and place. The Senate must do everything possible to put Dr Saraki where he rightly belongs – the back seat. He is definitely not a fit and proper person to preside over the country’s upper and revered legislative house.

“A man who betrayed his father, sister (many times), his party the PDP in 2014, the APC in 2015 by conspiring with the opposition PDP senators to emerge Senate President, APC administration by sabotaging the executive and defecting to the PDP in 2018 has no character, principles, values and integrity.”

It said Saraki would dump the PDP a second time if his interest was not served, alleging that such a man was not interested in the Nigeria of our dreams.

APC hasn’t recovered from failure to subvert democracy –Saraki

When contacted, the Special Adviser (Media) to the Senate President, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said, “We can’t descend into the gutter with these characters. Apparently, they have not recovered from the shock of their Tuesday’s failed attempt to subvert democracy.”

Meanwhile, national chairmen and other leaders of 45 opposition political parties on Thursday raised the alarm over an alleged plot by a government agency to freeze the bank accounts of the Senate and Saraki.

The parties raised the alarm during a solidarity visit to the Senate President in the Senate building in Abuja on Thursday.

The National Chairman of the National Unity Party, Chief Perry Okpara, who led the delegation and spoke on behalf of the group, said they were aware of the plot and warned against it.

Okpara, who did not name the government agency that was behind the plot, said, “We have it on good authority that there are moles in the Senate and there are moves to freeze the accounts of the Senate, Senate President and governors.”

The moves, he said, was aimed at crippling the parliament and forcing a leadership change in the National Assembly.

Okpara said, “We wish to alert Nigerians to a new plot by the same people, whose first shameful attempt to unlawfully overthrow the leadership of the National Assembly failed; an attempt, which brought Nigeria to the bad international limelight.

“We have it on good authority that a fresh plot is being hatched to make another attempt to cripple the parliament in the guise of impeachment, even when they know that there is not the constitutional majority to achieve the sinister move.

“We wish to state that we, the chairmen and leaders of political parties, will not support or standby to watch any unconstitutional impeachment of the leadership of the National Assembly.”

Okpara, who didn’t name the agency, warned that political parties would not sit by and watch the country slide into anarchy, where life had become short, brutish and lawless.

He added, “Nigeria is gradually turning into a failed state and all the institutions of state have been compromised and desecrated. This is the time to rise in defence of democratic values and nationhood.”

The parties condemned the use of the police, Department of State Services and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to clamp down on the opposition, the leadership of the National Assembly and also to lay siege to state assemblies.

“Today, our country is facing the challenges of pervasive insecurity, massive joblessness and unemployment, ethnic irredentism and disunity. We enjoin the National Assembly to use its constitutionally guaranteed powers to legislate to arrest the slide; to give the country a new direction and create hope for our countrymen and women,” he pleaded.

Okpara also disassociated the 45 parties from what he called an attempt by the Accord Party to undermine the constitutional powers of the National Assembly.

He said, “We note that the courts have rejected attempts by the Accord Party to undermine the constitutional powers of the National Assembly to undermine the sequence of elections. We, the majority of the political parties, disassociate ourselves from that inglorious attempt.”

In his response, Saraki expressed the hope that those behind the plot to destabilise the National Assembly by forcing an illegitimate leadership change have learnt their lesson from the resistance put up by Nigerians during the invasion of the National Assembly by officials of the DSS.

He said, “I hope that the anti-democratic forces have learnt their lesson in the past few days. We in the National Assembly will continue to follow due process and the rule of law.”

The political parties that attended the meeting were the United Democratic Party; Rebuild Nigeria Party, People for Democratic Change, Peoples Party of Nigeria, Progressives Peoples Party, Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria, Alliance for Democracy, and Young Democratic Party, among others.

No plot to impeach Buhari, senator replies Tinubu

Also on Thursday, The Senator representing (PDP, Bauchi) Isah Misau, debunked claims by the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju  Bola Tinubu, that the National Assembly was planning to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari.

Misau made the rebuttal in a statement in Abuja on Thursday. He urged Nigerians to disregard what he described as an empty talk by the APC chieftain.

The senator spoke in response to a claim by Tinubu at Wednesday’s APC rally in Uyo that there was a plot by some senators to impeach Buhari. Tinubu had described what was going on in the nation as “a war between progressives and the conservatives.”

He noted that the comment made by the politician was “mere partisan rhetoric aimed at catching the attention of the crowd” at the rally planned for the declaration of Senator Godswill Akpabio for the party.

Misau said, “I am surprised that a politician of Tinubu’s calibre will be playing politics with a serious issue like the impeachment of the President of the country just because he wanted to catch the attention of a crowd. Politicians at his level should not be engaging in unnecessary sabre-rattling and empty speculation.

“We, members of the Peoples Democratic Party in the Senate, have no plan to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari. There is no need for that process and we are not contemplating it.

“Our focus right now is to defend democracy and its institutions, fight for the enthronement of the rule of law, independence of the legislature and the judiciary and ensure good governance.”

He added, “If Tinubu has any concrete, reliable and verifiable evidence to the contrary, he should come forward and prove it. A man like him should not be getting carried away by the crowd and making claims that have no basis.

“We, therefore, urge all Nigerians and members of the international community to ignore that claim. There is no basis for anybody to make such a claim. It is a mere fabrication and a stunt pulled to please the partisan crowd to which it was uttered.”

EU condemns NASS invasion by DSS operatives

Still, on Thursday, the European Union said the 2019 general elections in Nigeria were vital to ensuring stability and prosperity. It demanded that Nigerians must decide the outcome of the elections.

The EU said all stakeholders in Nigeria must play their part so that “voters can make their decision through a free, fair, credible and peaceful election process.”

The union, in a statement, also condemned the siege laid to the National Assembly complex by the operatives of the DSS, noting that law enforcement agencies must remain neutral in the political process.

The EU said the security agencies must ensure that independent institutions such as the National Assembly operated in line with their “constitutional mandates, free from interference and intimidation.”

The union said, “The EU Heads of Missions have noted with concern interference in the democratic process by law enforcement services, the most recent case being the barring of access to the National Assembly on August 7. The EU is fully committed to supporting democracy in Nigeria and it commends the Federal Government’s swift action to protect the independence of the National Assembly as a critical pillar of democracy.

“The EU reiterates the importance of all law enforcement services staying neutral and ensuring that independent institutions can operate in line with their constitutional mandates, free from interference and intimidation.

“The upcoming general elections in 2019 are vital in ensuring national stability, peace and prosperity for all Nigerians. It is for the Nigerian people to decide the outcome of the elections, and the EU calls upon all stakeholders in Nigeria to play their part so that voters can make their decision through a free, fair, credible and peaceful election process.” (Punch)

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