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Saraki Fights To Retain Seat

Following the recent success recorded by the APC on the sharing of principal offices in the House of Representatives in lieu of the party supremacy, fresh indication has emerged that the party is scheming to pull Senate President Saraki down if he refuses to bend to its wishes. The group with the party loyal to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is said to be trying to woo President Muhammadu Buhari and arge him to intervene in the national leader of the (APC), Tinubu, have allegedly forged a secret alliance to ease Senate President, Bukola Saraki out of office, the same way he succeed in lower chamber by Gbajabiamila emergence as the house leader.

The first part of which has already been experimented through the now waning police report on the alleged forgery of the Senate Rules. The second, considered as political, is a design aimed at branding Saraki and his supporters as ‘enemies’ of the President. The third, according to our source, is that Saraki will be pressurised to throw in the towel once his wife, Mrs Toyin, who has been interrogated twice by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is formally charged to court.

Interestingly Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja recently transferred a suit filed by some senators seeking to annul the election of the Senate President, Saraki, to another Judge. Five APC senators, Abu Ibrahim, Kabiru Marafa, Ajayi Boroffice, Gbenga Ashafa, and Suleiman Hunyuki had filed the suit seeking nullification of the June 9 election of Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu. However, Justice Kolawole hands-off the case during sitting, saying that he would not have sufficient time to hear the matter as his tenure as a vacation judge would end on Friday. He, therefore, directed counsel to the plaintiffs to serve fresh hearing notices on all respondents. The Judge further adjourned the case to Aug. 13, to be heard by Justice Adeniyi Ademola, who will replace him as vacation judge on Aug. 10.

The plaintiffs had in their originating summons urged the court to declare the election of Saraki and Ekweremadu a nullity. They argued that their election violated Section 60 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Rule 110 of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended. They further argued that the Senate Standing Orders 2015 upon which Saraki and Ekweremadu were elected was “invalid, illegal, unconstitutional and should, therefore, be set aside. But the impeachment of Saraki may seen to be difficult base on the fact that the majority of Nigeria’s Senate, precisely 81 members, recently passed a vote of confidence on its president Saraki.

On his own turn, Saraki while resuming the plenary on July 28 stated that it’s time to move now. Saraki added that the lawmaking arm will be capable of producing watershed legislative interventions. His words: “As the Senate resumes, it’s expected that the recess would, have in no small measure help us consolidate stability of National Assembly. “Now is time to move as one house in one direction to fulfill the promise we made to our constituencies that gave us our mandate. “It is time we remind ourselves of the solemn promise to deliver real change, which can’t be achieved in atmosphere distracted politics. “Elections are over; Nigerians didn’t put their lives on the line for politics but for responsible leadership that can deliver good governance. “Our mandate is not to come & play politics; our mandate is to be solution providers for the numerous challenges that bedeviled our country. “We have insurgency threatening very existence of our country & fabric of its unity from NE, we are facing dire streak due to mismanagement.

“We have leadership task of turning challenges around through purpose driven lawmaking & Nigerians will not forgive us if we abdicate. “We can only achieve real change by working together & time is now. Before recess, we started process of laying down marker for new Senate. “8th Senate would be a much more focused legislative session, capable of producing watershed legislative interventions”. In his speech, distinguished colleagues, it is time, let’s get started and deliver meaningful change to our people.

Thank you for your attention and God bless Nigeria. There had been reports that following the crisis over NASS leadership Senate president and his deputy Ike Ekweremadu would be impeached. Similarly, the National Chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, recently said the party will handle the crisis rocking the Senate differently from the way that of the House of Representatives was handled because an opposition Senator emerged Deputy Senate President. Mr. Oyegun said this following the emergence of Gbajabiamila as the Majority Leader.

The Oyegun-led APC leadership had backed Gbajabiamila to become the majority after he lost the Speakership to Dogara, even though he was anointed for the position by the party. Shortly after his emergence, Mr. Gbajabiamila paid a ‘thank you’ visit to the National Secretariat of the APC. Speaking to journalists, the chairman commended Mr. Dogara for his “sense of patriotism”.

Mr. Dogara made a dramatic reversal, succumbing to the party’s directive, after he had insisted on not allowing Mr. Gbajabiamila become House Leader on the ground of Federal Character principle. He had said since the Deputy Speaker, Lasun Yusuf, hails from the South West just as Mr. Gbajabiamila, another zone should be allowed to produce the Majority Leader. Commending Mr. Dogara, Mr. Odigie-Oyegun said, “I want to commend the Speaker and his colleagues for their sense of patriotism. It is my hope and expectation that the wounds will now be totally healed that the APC family will now reunite fully as one.

“To Nigerians,” he continued, “I have already offered our regrets.” “This is part of growing, we are new to government and we are democratic and above all, progressive movement.” “We are in the process of welding all the various tendencies into one and today we have scored one major victory and I can assure the country that the party has begun the process of healing all the wounds and becoming one song force. We are moving from being a movement into a one strong political party that will back the President for the good of the entire country.” However, on the Senate, he said, “Senate is a different level and different situation.” “It is totally different if only we have sore thumb in the form of a PDP Deputy Senate President. So I think it is totally different and the approach and the way we are going to handle the situation will be totally different.

But at the end of the day even the Senate issue will be sorted out too.” Currently, the elections of Messrs Saraki and Ekweremadu are currently a subject of litigation. Opposing Senators, belonging to the Unity Forum, allege that the Standing Rule, with which the controversial elections were conducted by the Clerk of the National Assembly on June 9, was forged. Aware of the fresh plot, Saraki has resorted to seeking the assistance of Emirs and traditional rulers to help pacify President Buhari and Tinubu to drop the idea of plotting to ease him out of office.

However Saraki has also commenced moves to pacify Tinunu by appointing some of his loyalists in the Senate to key and strategic positions in the Senate ad-hoc committees. Saraki recently named Senator Babajide Omoworare, a key loyalist of Tinubu, as the chairman of Senate Committee on Rules and Business, the engine room of the Senate’s operations The UNION gathered that Saraki was actually disposed to offering his arch rival, Senator Ahmed Lawan the Senate Leader position, but that his pleas with senators from the North East caucus of the (APC) were rebuffed.

Notably, he has constituted the Senate Committee on Rules and Business, which is the engine room of the Senate. Into it has been appointed pro-Ahmed Lawan senators in the opposing “Unity Group”, namely Senator Barnabas Gemade, as member with Senator Babajide Omoworare as Chairman. Gemade is Chairman of the Pro-Lawan “Unity Forum” .

Included also is Senator Kabiru Marafa, who had been challenging Saraki’s election as a violation of House Rules. The composition has alerted other members of the anti-Saraki Unity Forum to the design of the Senate President to break their ranks. And he appears to have succeeded as a scheduled inauguration of the Rules and Business Committee was boycotted by the pro- Senator Lawan members who have agree to join and took oath of office during the week.

-Following the recent vote of confidence passed on him and his deputy by 81 Senators, Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki is moving fast to unite the polarized Senate and maintain hold of the seat, writes Francis Moses

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