NASS Crisis: Senate Leadership Being Blackmailed | Independent Newspapers Limited
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NASS Crisis: Senate Leadership Being Blackmailed

Posted: Jul 7, 2015 at 6:40 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

•Impeachment Moves Against Ekweremadu Divisive -Northern leaders

Ignatius Okorocha (Abuja), Emeka Okafor (Aba) and Temidayo Akinsuyi  –  Lagos


As reactions continue to trail the police invitation to the deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, over the alleged forgery of the Senate Rules, the Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA), a group of pro-democracy and political rights activists, said it had uncovered a plan by a part of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership to blackmail the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki and the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, into submission.

The group in a statement signed by its national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, on Sunday said that it had it on good authority that finishing touches were put on the plan to blackmail Saraki and Ekweremadu at the Abuja home of a high profile APC leader where two Senators from Yobe and Jigawa states were present.

“Seeing no legal means to kicking the Senate leadership out, the plan now includes the forgery of all manners of documents, manipulated audio and audio-visual materials, and the importation of a professional female blackmailer from the USA, etc. to coerce the Senate helmsmen into submission,” it said.

HURIWA, in the statement, denounced the emerging erosion of the independence of the National Assembly and the resort to blackmail, calling on Nigerians to be on the lookout for the political cum media terrorism as it unfolds, and regard them for what they are, a cheap blackmail.

The group said that the presiding officers of the Senate and House of Representatives were democratically elected and the ruling party could not, therefore, continue to hold Nigerians to ransom over its domestic squabbles.

“Indeed, the least Nigerians expected of the APC leadership is to cooperate with the National Assembly leadership to deliver to Nigerians the change the party promised, adding; “It is also appropriate to remind the APC leadership that it rode to power on the wings of free democratic environment and the sanctity of the ballot box.”

The group said: “If the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former President Goodluck Jonathan could congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC and hand government to them without any hesitance whatsoever, we see no good reason some elements in the APC have refused to accept the leadership, which majority of members of the National Assembly have freely chosen for themselves in accordance with the 1999 Constitution.

“If APC lawmakers emerged Speakers of the Benue and Plateau states Houses of Assembly where the PDP are in the majority; HURIWA sees no reason a Deputy Senate President of PDP extraction transparently and constitutionally elected by members of both parties cannot be acceptable to a section of the APC leadership.”

It recalled: “Since the APC national leadership, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the APC Caucus in the House of Representatives hailed the defection of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal’s to the APC with PDP’s speakership mandate in 2014; and since there is nothing in our constitution that states that a presiding officer must come from the majority party, HURIWA sees no good reason some APC elements are hell-bent on pulling down the National Assembly and our democracy in pursuit of their selfish agenda.”

HURIWA called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately restore sanity to the National Assembly by calling his party men and women to order, and protect the independence and stability of the legislature, which he inherited from the President Goodluck Jonathan Administration.

Meanwhile, Northern leaders resident in the South East have described the political moves by political bigwigs to unseat Senator Ike Ekweremadu as the Deputy Senate President as  “unnecessary and divisive.”

Speaking in Aba , Abia State, on Monday,  the Chairman of Northern Traditional Rulers Council, South East/South South,  Alhaji  Yaro Danladi, said that Ekweremadu should be allowed to hold his position “because he is the only eye of the Ndigbo in the entire National Assembly.”

He argued that since “Ekweremadu is  the only lawmaker from the South East occupying a principal position in the National Assembly, removing him does not make sense as that will make his people to lose confidence in the government in power.”

He further said that removing Ekweremadu from his position would amount to sidelining the entire South East zone from the political equation in the National Assembly a development he said was capable of igniting ethnic tension in Nigeria.

Danladi said that many Nigerians especially those living outside their regions were yet to recover from the shocks and effects of previous ethnic clashes in the country, adding that Nigerians were tired of crises. He appealed to the political class not to overheat the already tensed political atmosphere in the country.

Danladi who is also the Sarki Hausa of Abia State appealed to APC to halt any plan to unseat the Deputy Senate President as part of its sacrifice for the unity of Nigeria.

The monarch also appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, to intervene in the matter and prevail on APC not to take any action that would portray his administration in bad light

In its reaction, the Igbo think-tank, Aka Ikenga, on Monday said that no amount of threats or intimidation would make Ekweremadu resign from his position.

President of the group, Goddy Uwazurike, in a chat with Daily Independent said that Ekweremadu’s election stood since he was duly elected on the floor of the Senate by his colleagues.

He warned those he referred to as “meddlesome interlopers” to steer clear of the affairs of the lawmakers.

Some aggrieved APC senators loyal to Ahmad Lawan, the party’s candidate for Senate presidency last weekend demanded the immediate resignation of Ekweremadu.

The aggrieved lawmakers, under the auspices of the Senate Unity Forum, said it was one of the conditions that would make the faction to recognise Senator Bukola Saraki as President of the Senate.

But according to Uwazurike, the senators calling for Ekweremadu’s resignation are being sponsored by some individuals outside the Senate for their personal ambitions.