Emeka Ekpunobi in Abuja reports the sensational drama enacted in the Senate last week by Senator Oluremi Tinubu in flagrant violation of extant rules with complicit silence of its leaders.
The seemingly unquenchable thirst of Senator Oluremi Tinubu to grab the job of the Deputy senate president senator Ike Ekweremadu took a dramatic turn last week in the senate as former First Lady forced her way to Ekweremadu’s seat in his absence.
Interestingly, Tinubu’s offensive came barely 24 hours after the Deputy senate president was reported to have escaped assassination attempt in Abuja.
The deputy senate president was reported to have travelled abroad on official assignment that same day. And as if Mrs Tinubu had waited for such a day to have a feel of Ekweremadu’s seat, the controversial senator resisted spirited attempt by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) senators to stop her.
The spontaneous protest by PDP senators who saw her action as a sacrilege did not deter the former First Lady as she sat firmly on the highly restricted seat of the Deputy senate president throughout the legislative day. The minority leader senator Godswil Akpabio in his outburst on the floor of the senate asked the senate president senator Bukola Saraki who presided over the senate to compel Senator Tinubu to vacate Ekweremadu to preserve the sanctity of that office.
But the senate president never uttered a word while the drama lasted. Instead he was seen beaming with smiles in a manner that suggest that his hands were tied. The senate president was not alone in the conspiracy of silence, as the chief whip senator Adeyeye who by the rules of the senate is empowered to ensure that every senator speaks from his or her officially allotted seat failed to called Senator Tinubu to order. Senate does not permit senator to speak from a seat other than the one assigned to him or her.
Though she claimed that she moved to Ekweremadu’ s seat to enable her contribute during a debate on the floor of the senate, but PDP senators saw her action as a deliberate attack on the sanctity of the office of the deputy senate president presently occupied by one of their own. The First Lady claimed that her Mic was faulty and the only seat available seat to use was that of the deputy senate president.
Senator Tinubu was reported to have first moved to another seat near hers to speak from it before she finally settled for Ekweremadu’s seat. The wife of the APC national leader senator Bola Tinubu is yet to tender any apologies for the uncharitable attack .
And until she does that some people saw her action as a new twist to the alleged renewed plot to unseat the Deputy senate president senator Ike Ekweremadu. Tinubu’ s action also came barely a week after some APC senators were reported to have stormed out of the chamber , insisting that they would not seat in the red chamber while the deputy senate president is presiding over. Some APC senators who are still opposed to the emergence of Ekweremadu as deputy senate president on June 9, are not in a hurry to sheath their sword. But senator Tinubu is one senator that wants Ekweremadu out of office without further delay. Her ambition to become the deputy senate president may remain a dream for a long time as long as Ekweremadu remain in office, says a source in the red chamber. “Her love for the job is so clear and unquenchable. She is not in any way pretending about this even till date.” Said the source.
Her interest to grab Ekweremadu’s job was first exposed when the former First Lady told her stunned colleagues in the seventh senate that indeed she has legitimate ambition to become the second in command (Deputy senate president) in the senate.
She told the APC senators who were then in the minority party that she would want to grab the seat of the Deputy senate president. She told her colleagues to see her as the next deputy senate president.
Mrs Tinubu mentioned this at the then meeting by the defunct ANPP, CPC and AC caucuses in the seventh senate to announce their celebrated merger.
It was at that same meeting that the then opposition senators vowed to wrestle power from PDP which was then in control of the senate for over 16 years. Source alleged that the former First Lady also took her campaign for the plum job to the party hierarchy.
Expectedly, her outburst caused some ripples in some quarters. Some saw it as high point of the then political script of the new APC. T h o u g h senator Tinubu did not move in a determined manner then to actualize her ambition, but some people saw her outburst as a sign of many things that would happen in the senate.And for the remaining years in the seventh senate, senator Tinubu was never in the good book of the powers that be in the senate. Some PDP chieftains saw her remark as an uncharitable. A PDP senator who did not want his name in print then, was quick to dismiss her ambition as a drama.
And for him, such ambition may have to wait for eternity. Though she missed the opportunity as widely predicted in the seventh senate, the former First Lady appears desperate this time round to grab that job going by her action on the floor of the senate last week.
The action of senator Tinubu has continued to generate dust in some quarters. Some people saw her action as part of the conspiracy to unseat Ekweremadu and for some people the action of the former First Lady was pregnant with meanings coming barely 24 hours after a failed attempt by suspected hired assassins to kill Ekweremadu. It was also curious that there was no mention of such incident on the floor of the senate on a day many Nigerians had gathered at the senate gallery to hear what the senate will say about the reported attempt to kill one of their own.
Meanwhile, sources confirmed last week that the security operatives attached to the deputy senate president have briefed the Director of State Service and the Inspector General of Police Mr Solomon Arase.
According to him the Chief detail to the deputy senate president who was on the convoy when the incident occurred was at the force headquarters to give details of the attack. Police was said to have also commenced investigation into the attack
Special Adviser to the Deputy senate president Uche Anichukwu has declined further comment on the attack, insisting at the weekend that it has become a security matter. According to him, it has become a security matter, report has been lodged with the security bodies and such report contain full details of what happened on Tuesday. The security operatives are on top of it and we have done what we are supposed to do.
The media had in a statement on Tuesday said the accident occurred at about 10:00am between Apo Flyover and Dantata Construction Company’s yard, close to the Old Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Headquarters junction on his way to work.
A long-bearded light skinned foreigner, apparently a mercenary, chauffeured the suspected assassins, who operated in a tinted, off white Mercedez Benz AMG E63 without a plate number.
The vehicle, which was positioned by the Apo Bridge, on noticing that the Deputy President of the Senate’s convoy took the right turn to join the Nnamdi Azikiwe Expressway instead, made a turn. The occupants attempted to attack the convoy, but were blocked. The driver violently broke into the convoy and they made several frantic attempts to attack the Senator’s official car.
When charged at by the security operatives attached to the Deputy President of the Senate, the Benz driver made a U-turn, and partially smashed an oncoming vehicle on the opposite lane of the highway and escaped. As expected police investigation continues, the coming week may prove testy for the Senate and those with ambitions bigger than their size and contributions.