The All Progressives Congress (APC) senators and their Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterparts have set themselves on a war path, as the opposition senators yesterday threatened to reconvene the Senate today for plenary, challenging the decision of their colleagues in the ruling party to shut down the parliament because of their internal party wrangling.
The opposition lawmakers, who were visibly angry, argued that the Senate belongs to Nigerians and not the PDP, pointing out that they were elected to serve Nigerians. They lamented that from the actions of the PDP lawmakers, it has become clear that they are not concerned about the interest of Nigerians.
The PDP senators had yesterday taken the advantage of their majority powers to shut down the Senate, because President Goodluck Jonathan has refused to compel the PDP leadership to grant them automatic tickets to contest the 2015 general elections, which will enable them to remain in the Senate for another four years.
In this regard, the lawmakers from the ruling party Wednesday bluntly abandoned important legislative items such as consideration of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the 2015 Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), which had been submitted to them by President Jonathan, as they vowed to crumble the economy and the government by not considering the 2015 Budget proposal except the President and PDP grant them automatic tickets.
Speaking to journalists immediately after the aggrieved PDP senators carried out their Tuesday threat and shutdown the upper parliament, the spokesman of the APC Senators, Babafemi Ojudu, said the PDP senators cannot hold Nigerians and the economy to ransom because of their internal political issues with their party.
“The PDP senators are vow victims of their party’s impunity and now they are complaining. If we have our way, we in APC will come here tomorrow (Thursday) and sit. It should not be about personal interest but about the future of this country; it should be about our people.
“Now they have seen injustice, they are fighting. We have seen injustice for more than three and half years ago, we wanted to fight, they didn’t allow us to fight, why must it be that it is when it affects them that they act; people should have standards.
“Now they have seen that most of them are no longer welcome back in their homes; now they have seen that they have made themselves slaves to the Executive, and when you make yourself a slave, they will treat you like a slave. Now they have treated them like slaves; that is the consequence of that.
He emphasised that Nigerians voted every lawmaker to the National Assembly to come and work, saying that they must work.
According to him, “We are voted by Nigerians, we are working for Nigerians; but because they have problems with their party, with the President and with their Governors, we are not allowed to work. We don’t want it to be seen that we, the APC members, don’t want to work”.
“We want to work, but the system does not allow us to work. The rules, as practiced by the majority, do not allow us to work. We are going to call a meeting of our caucus and we are going to discuss this; we will even have expected that they will call us for an executive meeting and then we discuss this matter, but they just come in and adjourn like that.
“Some of us came from our constituencies, faraway places, so that we could sit for this week, but we are here, we are not allowed to sit. Suddenly, conservatives of yesterday have turned to today’s radicals. It is about the effect of these on the masses of Nigerians, about the people of this country.
He lamented that Mubi and Gombe have been taken over by insurgents, saying that this is the time when everybody should gird their loins to work and fight on behalf of Nigerians who are being displaced.
“Go and look at photographs of people who are running away from their homes. If you have lived in a place for 20 years, 30 years and you now have to carry a small bag to run away from there, do you know how traumatic that can be? At this time, we are thinking of ourselves alone; we should be thinking about those people”, he lamented.
Meanwhile, the Senate did not sit yesterday, following the sudden motion for adjournment, which was moved by the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba.
Immediately after the votes and proceedings of yesterday was approved and the wedding announcement of a senator’s daughter was made, the Senate leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, who has lost his return bid to the upper chamber, in an emotion laden voice, moved the motion for adjournment.
“Mr. Senate President, in view of the mood of the Senate, I move that the Senate adjourn to another legislative day”, he said.
The motion was seconded by the Senate Deputy Minority Whip, Ahmad Yerima Sani, which attracted opposition from the APC lawmakers, but the Senate President ruled in favour of the PDP lawmakers, who had the majority.