The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) notes with serious concern, but without any iota of shock, the recent comment by the National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said that the continued rumpus in the Senate…
– including the unrelenting harassment of its leadership and the recent arraignment of its presiding officers on phantom criminal charges of conspiracy and forgery-
…was all about the emergence of Senator Ike Ekweremadu as the Deputy President of Senate.
In a Freudian slip that reveals the underbelly of the entire shenanigan, the National Chairman of the APC had said they would never accept Ekweremadu as the Deputy President of the Senate.
His words: “I think the thing that rankled us most was the election of Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President.
“Saraki is a member of the APC, much as the main line of the Party would have wished a different result and a different scenario.
“But we all find it very, very difficult to accept the emergence of a PDP person as his deputy”.
Although this has been an open secret, but our fears have now been confirmed by the APC National Chairman himself.
We however, want to make it clear that the APC has no constitutional or moral grounds to be displeased with Ekweremadu’s emergence or to go this ridiculous length to harass, intimidate, embarrass, and malign him and the Institution of the Senate on account of a position to which his colleagues, cutting across party lines, elected him in a transparent and televised election in line with Section 50 of the 1999 Constitution as Amended.
Even the APC as a Party and through its chieftains, including President Muhammadu Buhari (before his Election), had variously and robustly defended the constitutionality and imperativeness of bi-partisan legislative leadership during the defection of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal to its fold while in opposition without relinquishing his position.
For the record, below were the comments from APC leaders in support of Hon. Tambuwal’s action:
• The former National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alh. Lai Mohammed averred:
“I must say that this historic development means that our democracy is growing by the day and it is dynamic…
“We think that having the head of the legislature from the opposition Party makes for a balanced setting in government and it is good for democracy.
“Those who are saying this has not happened before and that Tambuwal should step aside as Speaker do not have the backing of history and the Constitution”.
• Former Minority Leader and current Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila said:
“We are proud to acknowledge that the Speaker remains not only a Member of the House of Representatives, but also its Speaker.
“This position is consistent with the law and practice in a presidential system of government and Nigeria is no different.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Constitution requires only that the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be elected by members of that House from among themselves”.
• President Muhammadu Buhari hailed: “We will like to thank Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal for what he did yesterday.
“We were overwhelmed. Taking such a remarkable risk and sending everybody on holidays till December is an achievement”.
Meanwhile, it could be recalled that Hon. Terkimbi Kyange of the Minority APC was elected Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly on 5th June 2015, four clear days ahead of the Inauguration of the 8th Senate.
Peter Azi of the Minority APC was likewise elected Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly in June 2015.
The Majority PDP made do with the position of Deputy Speaker in both instances, but accepted this as part of our democratic evolution.
We therefore, invite the APC-led Federal Government to tell the world why bi-partisan leadership in the legislature was good in the instances of Rt. Hon. Tambuwal as well as the Benue and Plateau Assemblies, but an abomination in the case of Senator Ekweremadu.
We consider APC’s stance on Ekweremadu and his continued persecution on this account as the height of duplicity, intolerance, and executive excesses unwarranted and inexcusable in a democracy.
More so, unlike APC’s rancorous opposition in parliament in the recent past, the PDP lawmakers, including Senator Ekweremadu has provided a very responsible opposition, supporting the government and overlooking its serial fumbles.
Ekweremadu is not APC’s stumbling block!