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)