Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, thursday received a morale boosting visit from 45 political parties, who went to his Three Arms Zone, Abuja office to show solidarity to him and his colleagues over Tuesday’s siege to the National Assembly Complex by the operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS).
Speaking on behalf of the 45 parties, the Chairman of National Unity Party, Chief Perry Okpara, who condemned the siege, also claimed that the parties had it on good authority that the accounts of both the Senate and Saraki would be frozen anytime from now.
And apparently unhappy with the goodwill that the siege had brought Saraki and the federal legislature, the All Progressives Congress (APC) lashed out at the Senate president, saying he was unfit to occupy his office and insisted that he must step down.
But Saraki, through his spokesperson, Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu, said he would not dignify the party with a response.
The coalition of parties, however, told the Senate president to soldier on, and assured him that they were behind him in his fight to defend democracy in the country.
Okpara said, “We have information that the next line of action is to freeze the bank accounts of the Senate and Senate President.”
He also hinted of plans by the authorities to disrupt legislative activities at the National Assembly through illegal removal of the presiding officers.
According to him, “We wish to state that we the Chairmen and leaders of political parties will not support or stand by to watch any unconstitutional impeachment of the leadership of the National Assembly.”
Okpara described as unfortunate and uncalled for Tuesday’s invasion of the National Assembly premises by security operatives.
“We unequivocally condemn the use of agencies of state: Nigeria Police, DSS, EFCC to clamp down on the opposition and stifle democracy as demonstrated in the siege to the residences of the principal officers of the National Assembly, the siege on the National Assembly and the siege to the Benue State House of Assembly,” he said
Responding, Saraki reiterated the resolve and commitment of the 8th Senate and the National Assembly to continue to protect and defend the nation’s fledgling democracy.
He told the party leaders that as direct representatives of the people, lawmakers would continue to play their role to ensure that the rule of law was followed and human rights were respected in the country.
Saraki said, “Thank you for the solidarity message and we truly appreciate it as it encourages us to further do what we are doing to defend democracy in our great country.
“The big thank you goes to all Nigerians that stood with us and have come to support us here in the National Assembly because in supporting us, you are supporting our democracy.
“We will continue to defend it. We will continue to ensure that there is respect for the rule of law and that due process is followed across the country.”
He further expressed optimism that the perpetrators of the recent siege on the National Assembly have learnt their lesson from the wide condemnation that has continued to trail the anti-democratic action.
He said, “It is our hope that those anti-democratic forces have leant their lesson in the last few days, to listen to the voice of Nigerians – men, women, boys and girls – all across the country, who stood firmly to reject their unconstitutional and anti-democratic action.
According to him, “Some have paid the ultimate price and we must respect that and ensure that Nigeria, as a country, is a shining example for other democratic nations to emulate. We must not allow anything that will tarnish the image of this country and the democracy we have worked so hard to birth and sustain.”
The parties represented during the solidarity visit include United Democratic Party (UDP); Action Peoples Party (APP); Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP); National Interest Party (NIP); All Grassroots Alliance (AGA); Democratic Peoples Party (DPP); KOWA Party; National Conscience Party (NCP); Alliance for Democracy (AD); Action Alliance (AA); and All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP).
APC Says Saraki Not Fit for Senate Presidency
Apparently still unhappy about the defection of Saraki to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the APC said yesterday that the Senate president was not fit for his plum position.
In a press statement signed by its Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabena, the party said in every democratic country, the position of the Senate president was one of the highest political offices one could attain, saying it was a position reserved for ‘’the best of the best, experienced and exemplary politicians’’ who by their character and conduct in public offices, the younger generation looked up to as role models.
According to APC, ‘’In terms of exemplary personage, the reverse is the case in respect of the current Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who has been a dismal failure and has been involved in one controversy or the other – budget padding, filibustering, legislative rascality, sabotage of matters of national interest, among other criminalities too numerous to mention.’’
The ruling party claimed that having suffered under the 16-year misrule of PDP, Saraki would go down in the country’s history as the worst Senate president Nigeria had had the misfortune to have.
The party added, ‘’Since his usurpation of the coveted seat, achieved through a wicked conspiracy with members of the opposition PDP, it has been from one controversy to another – the Code of Conduct trial for false declaration of assets; conspiracy with his deputy to fraudulently alter the rules of the Senate and links to the deadly armed robbers who wasted many lives in the Offa robbery attack. It is alleged that some of the robbery suspects were his political thugs used to rig elections; a common adage says: Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.”
All over the world, the party further claimed, the leadership of the legislature is provided by the political party with majority members, claiming that Saraki would in the absence of many members of his former party, APC, connive and conspire with members of the opposition PDP to emerge Senate president, and in the process trade off the deputy Senate president position to the opposition PDP.
“Even at this time he has defected to the opposition PDP, and with APC still in the majority in the Senate, Saraki still has the impudence to present himself as the Senate President. Political ambition should be made of nobler stuff,” the party said.
But Saraki’s media aide said the APC was better ignored. “We can’t descend into the gutter with these characters,” Olaniyonu said, adding, “Apparently they have not recovered from the shock of their Tuesday’s failed attempt to subvert democracy.”