Friends in the Gap Advocacy Initiative (FGAI), a parliamentary advocacy monitoring and lobby group, yesterday noted with concerns the unending tussle for leadership positions in the senate.
The Group also noted the petition written by the Senate Unity Forum (SUF) to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), calling for an investigation into the circumstances of the emergence of the Senate Standing Orders 2015, which rule was used in the election that led to the emergence of Senator Ike Ekweremadu as the Deputy Senate President.
In an emailed statement signed by the Executive Director, George Oji, the Group also noted the explanations provided by Ekweremadu that every new Senate must operate with a new rule in compliance with Section 64 of the 1999 Constitution as amended to justify the emergence of the new rule book. Consequently, the FGAI appealled to the Senate to conduct thorough investigations to ascertain the circumstances that led to the surreptitious emergence of the new rule book, particularly whether it was done in accordance with order 110 of the senate standing order 2011.
“We urge that there should not be any sacred cow in the investigation process. The investigation should also be concluded quickly and on time too. “We demand that anyone found culpable, remotely or directly in the unlawful printing of the said new senate rule should be made to face the music be prosecuted in a court of competent jurisdiction in the country, as there is no immunity against prosecution provided for any lawmaker in the nation’s constitution.
“The probe is not all about Ekweremadu or indeed any other individual senator. It is all about honour, integrity and character. “It is our position that as elected representatives of the people, members of the National Assembly must be like Caesar’s wife; they must live above board; not engage in any form of criminal activities, much more, forgery.
“Also, Friends in the Gap Advocacy Initiative urges quick and timely resolution of the current crisis of leadership in the two arms of the National Assembly, so that the lawmakers would settle-in quickly, to commencethe real business of lawmaking for which the Nigerian electorates have invested so much time and resources.
“It is our further position that Nigerians voted the present crop of lawmakers into office as part of the larger change mantra, represented by President Muhammadu Buhari, which means that Nigerians expect the legislators to join hands with the President to make laws that would change our old ways of governance.
“The laws that Nigerians expect from our elected representatives are those that would reinvent good governance; through probity, accountability, rule of law and respect for human rights. Anything short of this would not be acceptable by the Nigerian people,” the statement read.
– Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja