*As APC caucus seeks 2/3 majority
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Christiana Ekpa
The All Progressives Congress (APC) senators and members of House of Representatives have started fresh move outlining last hour plans to sack the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, his Deputy Ike Ekwerenmadu and Speaker Yakubu Dogara as the National Assembly resumes properly yesterday after observing its three months annual recess.
Recall that the National Assembly was abruptly adjourned in July due to imminent threats to the leadership of the Senate, which has continued to face aggression from both the executive and some of the APC senators.
As the federal parliament resumes yesterday, information confided in Peoples Daily by a source in the parliament revealed that APC senators who are not comfortable with Saraki’s continued occupation of the Senate President’s seat, being a PDP senator, in an APC regime, have up the tempo in their hell bent resolve to effect the much awaited leadership change in the Senate.
Equally, the APC caucus at the House of Representatives in their resolve to unseat the Speaker Yakubu Dogara, for defecting to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are currently canvassing for 2/3 majority requirement to remove the speaker.
Speaking to newsman before the plenary, Hon. Mohammed Mongonu,( APC Bornu) said the caucus in the ruling party will still move to remove Hon. Dogara as the Speaker as soon as they muster the Constitutional 2/3 requirement.
He said all over the world, it is always the ruling party that has the responsibility of producing the leadership of the legislative arm of government.
Our source in the Senate, who does not want to be mentioned, disclosed that the APC senators who are party to the plans to sack Saraki and Ekwerenmadu, have been meeting during the recess period on how best to correct the error in the Senate, pointing out that the APC senators are united in this task.
Responding to how the APC senators will be united in this task, especially when many of them have lost their return tickets, the source said the interest of the party is paramount, adding that the party and government will not abandon anybody that has worked for its interests.
He claimed further that the APC senators will liaise with some aggrieved PDP senators who were shortchanged to have a smooth sail in the task ahead. He observed that leadership change in the Senate is an onerous task that must be supported by well meaning Nigerians to save democracy.
At the Green Chamber of the National Assembly, Hon. Mohammed Mongonu argued that since the ideology and policies of the APC is quite different from that of the PDP, it will be difficult for a member of the opposition party to successfully drive it.
He told newsman before the plenary, “All over the world, it is the norm for ruling parties to produce the Speaker; and so, since the Speaker has defected, he may not be able to drive the manifesto and programmes of the APC.
“However, we need the 2/3 Constitutional requirement to remove him. So we are going to count ourselves; and as soon as we get it, we will move for their removal.”
However, Hon. Sergius Ogun (Edo PDP), said the House should not be talking of impeachment at this time, because the general election is at hand.
He further argued that since the APC promised some lawmakers an automatic ticket, which most of them did not get, that they may not be interested in joining the fight to remove anybody at this time.
“Primaries have come and gone, many people in both the APC and the PDP lost out. Some of them, especially those in the APC, were promised automatic ticket; such people will be more interested in moving the nation forward than who is presiding over the House.”
Ogun also disagreed that they could be influenced with money, insisting that it is not everybody that can be so influenced.
The Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe North), who inadvertently corroborated what a source earlier revealed to Peoples Daily, speaking to journalists in Abuja, assured that the Senate will do the needful to remove the Senate President and his Deputy, Ike Ekwerenmadu.
Reacting to the statement by the Senate Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi said Nigerians should hold Lawan responsible if there is violence in the Senate, adding that the Senate is resuming to attend to pressing national issues and not to continue with dirty politics.
She pointed out that the Senate was well constituted in June 2015, noting that the constitution has stipulated a clear means of removing the Senate President and the Deputy, which she said is by two/third of all the senators, adding that anything contrary to this is an invitation to anarchy which must be resisted by all Nigerians.
“The Senate leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan should not cause tension and problem in the Senate. He should not promise the All Progressives Congress, APC, 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 offers and we will resist any attempt that will offset the calm situation in the Senate.”
It is obvious that the remaining few months to the end of the 8th National Assembly will be characterized by fireworks and banana peals. But one of the senators laments that this high politicking and intrigues will not do anybody any good, insisting that the right thing, which he said is for Saraki, Ekweenmadu and Dogara to honorably handover to APC in peace or face impeachment.