Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Board of Trustees (BoT) of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Tuesday, claimed that the ongoing trial of the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, over alleged forgery of the Senate Rules is a deliberate plot to tarnish the image and office of the Deputy Senate President.
Speaking when it paid a solidarity visit to the PDP Senate Caucus at the National Assembly Complex, leader of the delegation and Chairman of the PDP BoT, Senator Walid Jibril, noted that as fathers and conscience of the Party, the BoT could not sit and watch the framing-up of the Deputy Senate President on trumped-up charge of forgery, apparently for political reasons.
He added that while not trying to preempt the outcome of the case that is already before the court, it would gladden the Party’s heart to see that fairness and justice are applied in the matter.
Jibril declared that any attempt to remove the Deputy Senate President would not augur well for the nation’s democracy, since Ekweremadu was elected to the position by the support of both PDP and APC senators.
“We are here to show solidarity and recognise the leadership of Senator Ekweremadu, especially when we hear stories of what is happening to him. We are here to give our total support to him over the recent framing of him in an alleged forgery case, because we cannot, as fathers and conscience of the party, sit down and just watch.
“Senator Ekweremadu is a man of integrity with a high record of performance. We want to advise strongly that nobody should try to tarnish his personality, and we are strongly calling for fair hearing and justice in the attempt to rope-in Senator Ekweremadu for political reasons.
“He was elected Deputy President of Senate by 48 PDP senators with the support of APC Senators, which is a good ingredient of our democracy. No attempt should be made to rope him in. He should be left alone to continue the good service to the country,” Jibril added:
On his part, another ranking member of the BoT and former Senate President, Senator Adolphus Wabara, noted that the era of executive interference in legislative business was over, given the spirit of support among senators.
He noted that unlike before, the other 14 South-East senators were not interested in the seat of the Deputy Senate President, but were rather behind Ekweremadu, just as the overwhelming number of senators were solidly behind the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, and Ekweremadu leadership.
Wabara added that the unity of purpose is one big lesson the executive should learn.
“I speak as a victim of executive interference in the legislature. During our own time, there was not the kind of unity being exhibited by the senators today. I want to commend and salute you all for that. The last time the two presiding officers went to court, as I watched on television, I was moved to tears. The court was on vacation, and no one had the courtesy of informing them before hand.
“The time they would have used to attend to the nation’s task, was wasted, going to court. It is high time the executive (realised) that the era of executive interference was over,” Wabara added.
Responding, Ekweremadu expressed gratitude to the BoT members for its show of solidarity and support, which he said showed that it was not only the conscience of the PDP, but also of the country as well.
“You have shown that you are indeed our fathers and mothers; and I cannot see any parent, who will sit aside and watch his children being persecuted without showing concern and solidarity. You have actually lived up to the expectations of well meaning Nigerians, and the idea behind founding the BoT by its founding fathers.
“As a party, we are committed to the ideals of democracy, especially the issues of the rule of law. We cannot run away from the fact that without the rule of law, there will be no country. We, as a party, remain committed to the rule of law, which is synonymous with democracy. And we shall continue to do everything possible to preserve it,” he added.