Tuesday, October 9, 2018

How APC and PDP Lawmakers Draw Battle Line Against Each Other


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    Abuja – The National Assembly resumes plenary today amidst tension over alleged plot by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to take over its leadership.

    Sources told Daily Independent that APC lawmakers are spoiling for a fight with the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) lawmakers over control of the National Assembly.

    However, the battle for the control of the National Assembly, a lawmaker, who does not want his name mentioned, told our correspondent may be postponed to Wednesday following the death of Funke Adedoyin representing Irepodun/Isin Ekiti/Oke Ero Constituency of Kwara State.

    The lawmaker further disclosed that the National Assembly will follow its tradition, pay respect for the late member and adjourn sitting to the following day.

    It would be recalled that before the National Assembly went on break about eleven weeks ago, there were skirmishes by the APC to impeach the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.

    The defection of Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker, House of Representatives, would this week add tension to the already charged atmosphere.

    APC lawmakers are spoiling for a fight over the leadership of the National Assembly now headed by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers who were until recently of the APC.

    The APC lawmakers’ argument is that the opposition party cannot control the National Assembly.

    While the two presiding officers in the Senate, Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, belong to the PDP with just 48 senators out of 109, the number one presiding officer in the House, Dogara, also belongs to the PDP in a House with about 196 APC members out of the available 360 seats.

    Saraki and Dogara defected from the APC to the PDP during the recess, at different times, on account of irreconcilable differences they had with the APC leadership at different levels.

    The National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, has not hidden his anger over Saraki’s control of the National Assembly, vowing that he would be removed.

    The plans of the ruling party to take action against Saraki’s leadership of the Senate was revealed on Saturday by leader of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, who declared that minority will not be allowed to rule over the majority at both chambers of the National Assembly on resumption.

    He had said, “I want Nigerians to know that the number of senators of APC in the Senate remains the largest. I want to call the attention of everyone here to the fact that democracy, as defined by people, remains government of the majority, where minority will always have their say.

    “Those who cannot remember that there was a time in this country when nine was greater than 16, I want to remind them that we have come to that point again.

    “Now, we have our chamber dominated and occupied by minority leaders. They remain minority leaders occupying our positions.

    Those who refuse to follow the part of honour and integrity by exiting, we will send them out with ignominy.

    “I want to assure everyone here that 2019 is going to be a walkover for Mr. President, by the grace of God. It will see APC winning more than 24 states.

    “We will have a National Assembly where vast majority of senators will be from the APC and in the House of Representatives.

    “We want to have a National Assembly that will, at all times, work with Mr. President, day and night, to deliver to Nigerians what we have lost over the years.

    “The leadership of the National Assembly has shown to us that they are not prepared to be loyal to this administration.

    “On Tuesday (today), we will be going back to the National Assembly when our recess is over. We intend to force through a lot of things and pass that budget for INEC and the security agencies for the 2019 election.

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    “If we cannot convince them, we intend to force through the foreign plan for this administration. Some people have taken our mandate and run away with it. We intend to fight, defend, and promote the interest of this party at all cost.”

    Meanwhile, Senator Biodun Olujimi has advised APC senators to drop their plans to remove Senate President Bukola Saraki as the National Assembly resumes today.

    He was speaking in response to the threat by Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, that the ruling APC would effect a change in the leadership of the National Assembly on resumption.

    Speaking to newsmen on Monday, Olujimi said: “The Senate leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, should not cause tension and problem in the Senate.

    “He should not promise the All Progressives Congress what he cannot deliver. Nigerians should hold him responsible if the Senate is unable to sit because the leadership of the Senate is not by party affiliation; it is through an election among all the senators.

    “Lawan should be reminded that the election of the present presiding officers of the Senate was done even when he was not present.

    “He should be reminded that responsible senators who attended the inauguration of the Senate as announced by President Muhammadu Buhari elected the presiding officers and that Ahmad Lawan, as the Senate leader, should be conversant with the procedure for the removal of presiding officers, and for the avoidance of doubt, the Senate is solidly behind the presiding officers and we will resist any attempt that will offset the calm situation in the Senate.

    “The Senate leader should please note that we are returning to handle all outstanding issues and he should be held responsible if we are not able to accomplish them. We ask him, as one of the principal officers of the Senate, to refrain from beating the drums of war that will do no one any good.

    “We have resolved as senators of the Federal Republic to face our duties squarely and pray that no one distracts us.

    The unity of the Senate is more important than anybody’s inordinate ambition.”

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