- I will defend the govt the best I can – Adamu
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
The plots by the All Progressives Congress (APC) senators to sack the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, yesterday thickened in the Senate, as lawmakers loyal to the Senate President expressed fear that there are plots by some senators to destabilize the Senate.
Revelation to this effect emerged yesterday during the plenary when the senator representing Ebonyi Central on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Obinna Ogba, raised a point of Order that some APC senator, led by Abdulahi Adamu, are perfecting plans to employ civil society groups to create massive protests across the country with a view to remove the entire Senate leadership.
Senator Ogba, who came through Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rule to make personal explanation, said “I rise this morning to bring to the notice of the Senate that there is a plan by some people in this Senate, under the leadership of Senator Abdullahi Adamu, to remove the Senate leadership.”
He recalled that in January, Senator Isah Hamman Misau (APC, Bauchi), made a similar revelation on the floor of the Senate that there was a plan to remove the Senate President and the entire leadership.
“Now, I have reliable information that some people are already planning to destabilize the Senate, including the leadership by organizing demonstrations. I believe that all of us are leaders, and none of us should do anything that will destabilize the country or the Senate,” he said.
He, therefore, said that anything that will destabilize Nigeria’s democracy should be avoided by every Nigerian, adding that if there is any issue going on which any senator is not comfortable with, they have an opportunity to raise it on the floor of the Senate.
He lamented that it was unfortunate for any senator to go outside and start planning with civil organizations, market women and others, to lead protests against the leadership of the Senate.
“I want this matter to be investigated. I have evidence to show for what I am saying. There is a telephone discussion between Senator Abdullahi Adamu and other people. This is a very serious issue. When this issue was raised in January, we did not take it serious. We must have to stand up and look into it,” he said.
To this end, he warned the Senate against waving the issue aside, saying it is not the best thing to do, as he laid the evidence before the Senate chambers.
Responding, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerenmadu, said the difference between military, autocratic or any oppressive regime and democracy is the parliament.
“Once you remove the parliament, you are going to have problems. In whatever you do, we must continue to preserve the sanctity of the parliament. I want to appeal that anybody who is interested in destabilizing this country is not doing anybody any good.
“We have received this information. For whatever it is worth, we will refer it to our appropriate committee on Public Petitions to look at it and report back within two weeks,” he said.
However, speaking exclusively to Peoples Daily, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, representing Nasarawa West, said though he is not fighting Saraki, he is under oath to defend the government and Constitution of Nigeria, without any apology.
He said those insinuating that he is leading some senators to impeach Saraki should mention those senators he is leading and provide evidence.
“Unfortunately, whatever he has, he talked of some senator. It is for him or them to identify this group of senators that they purport that I lead.
“I believe we have problem in the Senate and the sooner we address the problem, squarely, the better. This idea of singling out one or two persons and charging them of one thing or the other against the senate president is like giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it.
“I am not afraid of whatever I do. Whatever I do, I do it out of conviction; and I am passionate about what I am doing. If there is something wrong, it is part of my responsibility as a senator to take steps to correct it, and I am doing so to the best I can. I heard that they have referred the matter to the ethics committee. That is the way it should be, although they have not invited me; but when they do, I will chart my course.
“We can’t behave like the proverbial ostrich, that buries its head in the sand and leave the whole body out thinking that all is well. For me, I think any allegation anybody makes against me in this regard, I take it with very open mind; and if they say they want to get my opinion or input in any committee of the Senate, I am willing to do so.
“I made my position clear on the floor of the Senate. I kicked against the way and manner the amendment was done on the Electoral Act, especially section 25, and I stand by that – and will follow this to the best of my ability. If I have some colleagues who believe in what I am doing, I get along with them. I have no regrets whatsoever.
“In their bid to investigate that allegation, they can, it is nothing. There is absolutely nothing, it is an open thing there. They want to do whatever they can to get me out of their way, they have made all sorts of allegation against me; but I don’t have any problem with that. I chart my course. And in this particular one, I am not charting my personal course in the Senate, I believe that the way and manner the decision was taken with regards to the amendment carried on the Electoral Act, was not in consonance with the constitution of Nigeria.
“Anything that is aimed at harming the stability of this government; anything that will frustrate the efforts of this government; I will definitely stand my ground and defend this government to the best I can. We are only an arm of this same government; and will not shield anybody trying to use any of the institution of the government to further his or her case, or their interest or case. If I see that, I will fight against it.
“I am under oath to protect and preserve the government and the constitution of Nigeria. I will do it to the best I can. Fortunately, there are other senators that feel the way I felt. So, nobody should just reduce it to any fight against Saraki.
“I will not spend one night fighting Saraki. If I had wanted to be Senate President, I would have contested for it, or I wait for him to finish. I didn’t contest for it. I have more things to pursue than to reduce myself to fighting Saraki. But I am against what we are doing against the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria,” he said.
Recall that Senator Abdulahi Adamu had led ten senators to stage a walkout in the Senate in protest of the amendment on the 2010 Electoral Act, in which the Senate adopted the conference report of the Senate and House of Representatives joint committee on INEC without debate.
Senator Adamu and nine other senators who had protested the adoption of the conference committee report predicated their argument on the inclusion of new section 25(1) in the 2010 Electoral Act, in which the Presidential Election was made to come last against the prudence of being the first, which the Pro Buhari senator interpreted as being a target against President Mohamnadu Buhari second expected term agenda.
Following this protest, Adamu, who was the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum (NGF), was removed thorough a letter from Senator Dino Melaye, which was read on the floor of the Senate by the Deputy Senate President, who presided over the plenary that day.
The allegation against Senator Adamu was that he mismanaged the N70million naira belonging to the NGF, and that his leadership was characterized by maladministration.