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

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“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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To Sack Me, Seats Of All Defectors In Senate Must Also Be Declared Vacant – Akpabio

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                         Senator Godswill Akpabio

Senator Godswill Akpabio (APC-Akwa Ibom) says any move to declare his seat vacant in the Senate will prove abortive.

He said though he had yet to hear about it, if his seat must be declared vacant, the seats of those who defected to the Peoples Democratic Party should also be declared vacant.

Akpabio made this known in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Monday.

According to him, if the excuse of those calling for his seat to be declared vacant is that there is no rancour in PDP to warrant his defection, they should also know that there is no rancour in APC.

“Any defection from APC to PDP, we will like to declare those seats vacant.

“As you are looking at me, do I look perturbed? I have not heard the report.

“I think that is a rumour because, at the moment, there is no division in the APC. The APC is one family.

“If you hear about R-APC that was not really a political party, that was not a division.

“It has since been consumed in what they call Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP).

On the threat by APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, to get the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki impeached, Akpabio said he was not aware of that.

“I just came in from Ikot-Ekpene, where I decided with my people to join APC. I’m yet to be briefed on any of those items. I have not heard anything.

“Why don’t you wait for me to formally talk to you? I believe that when the National Assembly resumes, you will hear from me directly. So, exercise patience,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Akpabio, while defecting from PDP to APC, also tendered his resignation as the Senate Minority Leader.

(NAN)

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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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No Plan To Impeach Buhari, Senator Responds To Tinubu |RN

The Senator representing (PDP, Bauchi) Isah Misau, debunked claims by the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, 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.” (Punch)

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Saraki Should Step Down For Sake Of Morality – Sagay |The Republican News

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof Itse Sagay (SAN), has called on Senate President Bukola Saraki to vacate his seat for the sake of morality.

Sagay said this on Thursday during a telephone interview with our correspondent.

The senior advocate said having a member of the minority party as the President of the Senate was an aberration anywhere in the world.

He, therefore, asked Saraki to give up the seat and then re-contest the position next year if he wins on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The PACAC chairman said, “Saraki’s refusal to step down is a moral issue. The constitution does not specify that the Senate President must be a member of the majority party. All it states is that the majority of those sitting at the Senate will elect a Senate President.

“But by convention, there is no party that is in the majority that will allow a member of the minority party to lead. Now that he has crossed over to the PDP, he is morally bound to step aside and then re-contest as a PDP candidate.

“I am advising him to step down. Morally, he has no right to be there and if he is a man of honour and integrity, who has self-respect, he should not remain in office.”

Sagay also hailed the EFCC for probing the past leadership of the DSS.

He also dismissed insinuations that the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahaim Magu, was not in the best position to probe the DSS having been rejected by the Senate based on a recommendation by the DSS.  (Punch)

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Kwakwaso, Mark, Jang, 46 Other Senators Sign pro-Saraki List |RN

John Alechenu, Abuja

Former Senate President, David Mark, and Senators Jonah Jang, Abiodun Olujimi and Rabiu Kwankwaso were among 49 senators who signed a list rejecting any move to force a change in leadership in the Senate.

The list was made available to reporters in the Senate on Tuesday.

It was gathered that the list was meant to serve as a notice to those behind the alleged botched attempt to remove the Senate President, Bukola Saraki,  and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

The list, which is made up mostly members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, was compiled at the foyer of the National Assembly.

A copy of the list sighted by our correspondent, read, “We, the undersigned senators, hereby declare our total support for Senator Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as President and Deputy Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are against any purported illegal impeachment being cooked up by a few minorities (sic).”

Recall that speculations that a group of senators of the All Progressives Congress were plotting to invade the National Assembly to reconvene and effect a leadership change led to the appearance of several PDP senators, who decided to suspend their recess, to thwart the move.

They were, however, initially prevented from entering into the National Assembly complex by armed and masked operatives of the Department of State Services who said they were acting on “orders from above.” (Punch)

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Nigeria Risk Total Government Shutdown Due To National Assembly Recess – Ita Enang

Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, has warned that the country might face a total government shutdown if the National Assembly does not reconvene urgently.

Enang and the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, gave this indication while addressing State House correspondents shortly after a closed-door meeting with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday in Abuja.

Both men were in the State House to brief the Acting President on the situation in the Senate.

They also expressed the urgent need for the National Assembly to reconvene immediately and pass the virement and supplementary budgets requested by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We are still appealing to the National Assembly to reconvene. You remember that we passed the budget with the understanding that a great amount of the money will be sourced from foreign loans.

“Although it was approved that there would be a loan, the amount that would be sourced was not approved.

“The Fiscal Responsibility Act requires that the President specifically state the amount he wants to get from foreign loans and present it before the National Assembly.

“That letter has been presented before the National Assembly and it has to pass that amount before it could be obtained from the foreign financing institutions.

“This is what we are asking, but if it does not happen in the next few months, we risk a complete government shutdown because what we are receiving from the Federation Account as Federal Government share — the capital component — is not enough to sustain even 15 per cent to 20 per cent of budget.

“So, there may be a complete government shutdown and I know Nigerians will not like it. That is why we are appealing to the National Assembly to reconvene.’’

Enang said that the All Progressives Congress had a clear majority in the Senate as it now had in its fold, Senator Godswill Akpabio, the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party in the Senate and other defecting Senators.

He said that Akpabio would be formally received in APC at a ceremony that would be held in Akwa Ibom on August 8.

On his part, Lawan said that the capital aspect of the 2019 budget would be largely funded by foreign facilities/loans.

He said that the National Assembly needed to pass the virement and supplementary budgets alongside other important and essential requests, especially that of the Independent National Electoral Commission and other security agencies.

“We need to reconvene immediately to look into these issues.

“Our government is almost stalled and I believe that if we pass the supplementary budget and virement request of Mr President, it will enable our government to provide the various infrastructure that we have planned to provide for Nigerians.

“To do otherwise will be sabotage to this administration; will be sabotage to democracy itself because if we cannot provide the funds for INEC to plan the 2019 elections, what do we call ourselves?

“Take the case of INEC for example, it can pick some items from the shelves but there are so many important items that INEC will place an order that will take two to three months.

“ So, it is very imperative that we do the needful; we should reconvene the National Assembly immediately; as legislators and representatives of Nigeria, we do what is best in the national interest.’’

He urged senators to quickly reconvene and pass the requests as anything contrary would mean fighting the masses.

Lawan said that there were conflicting reports from different caucuses of the Senate, but that APC remained the majority, as it had 53 senators in its caucus.

He noted that the list of senators in APC caucus had been made public and challenged the PDP to publish the names of senators in the PDP Senate caucus.

News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Senate adjourned sittings on July 24 to reconvene on September 25.

(NAN)

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