By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
Tussle over the leadership of the 8th Senate after the defection of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in July this year, reared its head yesterday as the former Senate minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio (APC Akwa Ibom North West) , called for Saraki’s resignation.
Akpabio who made the call while fielding questions from senate correspondents on the current state of affairs in the Senate, also called for resignation of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu from office for belonging to PDP which has lesser number of senators when compared to APC.
According to him, for peace to reign in the senate and in line with global democratic practices, the party with majority of members should be in leadership positions as against the minority currently lording it over the majority now in the 8th Senate.
He cited the decision he took in August by relinquinching his minority leadership position first before defecting from PDP to APC as what is expected of others holding leadership positions on account of the party they belonged to in the first instance.
He said “I did not just move like that, I was a (Minority) Leader in the Senate. I resigned my position in order to show that, yes, I meant business. Let others who also have positions in the Senate who wish to also cross carpet from one political party to another also resign their positions and take a cue from what Godswill Akpabio did.
“There is the need for us to restructure the Senate. Behind where I sat today (yesterday), my very good friend, distinguished Senator Ubali Shittu; it was after the little noise in the Senate that he told me that he was now in the PDP and I said ‘why are you sitting here?’
Don’t you think there is the need for us to restructure the Senate?
PDP will sit on a side, APGA will sit where they are supposed to, and the ruling party which still forms the majority will still sit where they are supposed to sit.
“The leadership should be restructured in a way that the majority can have their way and the minority will have their say. That is the practice all over modern democracies. You cannot have a political party with 10 members, another with 80 members, and the 10 members will now produce the leadership. Does it happen anywhere in the world?
Nigeria is not different. We are running a democracy. That is what I meant when I said I would speak when the Senate is well restructured and reconstituted”.
He reiterated that his defection from PDP to APC was motivated by national and not partisan interest.
“I moved in national interest. I saw a kind of slight towards disorder, where many of my colleagues saw defection as a weapon against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. I don’t believe that we should bring a government into being without supporting that government to succeed.
“If the administration slides and Nigeria slides into anarchy, it is our children that will suffer. I moved to stabilise the polity,” he explained.