Don’t Joke with Our Democracy, Ekweremadu Warns
…Urges int’l community to save Nigeria’s democracy
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has called on the nation’s leaders, especially those occupying executive positions, not to joke with the nation’s hard-won democracy.
He called on the international community to help end the highhandedness and misuse of institutions by some persons in the country, vowing that the National Assembly would never be intimidated or relent in defending the principles of democracy.
The Senator spoke on Wednesday during the debate on a motion sponsored by Senator Salau Ahmed Ogumbe (PDP, Kogi Central) on incidence of violence allegedly unleashed on him and his constituents during an empowerment programme in his Senatorial District.
A visibly angry warned that the fact the military had been pushed back to the barracks was no excuse to abuse democratic rule or take it for granted.
He also decried Nigeria’s fast-waning democratic credentials and international influence even within the West African sub-region, where she used to be dominant.
He said: “The problem in Nigeria now is that our democracy is receding and the international community needs to know this. Let us not joke with our democracy the way they are going.
“Last two weeks, we were talking about how Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi’s house was destroyed in Kaduna State. Recently, we were talking about how Senator Rabiu Kwakwanso was stopped from going to his state. We saw people carrying clubs, waiting for him at the airport. We were talking about how security operatives laid siege on Senator Dino Melaye.
“In Kaduna, Senator Shehu Sani cannot organise a meeting and we say we are practicing democracy. People are holding meetings everyday on how to continue to deal with each and every one of us here (in the Senate).
“The international community needs to know this because they helped us to restore our democracy and some gang of people are trying to truncate the entire democracy. I want to appeal that we take this matter seriously. It is not about us; it is about our democracy; it is about our country”.
Recalling his unheeded counsel, in 2017, to the Government of Kogi State not to waste state resources on Senator Melaye’s recall project, the Senator advised the Governor Yahaya Bello to embrace democratic cultures.
“The money that would have been used to pay salaries of people in Kogi State was used to mobilise people to recall Senator Dino. The Kogi people have not been paid and Senator Dino is here; he has not been recalled.
“Today, I am advising the Governor again that the road he is travelling will not lead him to anywhere. If he doesn’t stop, God will show him that he is a God of justice; and this is a message to all those people who have caused all kinds of problem in Nigeria at different levels”, he added.
Ekweremadu urged his colleagues to remain steadfast and one-minded in pursuing the cause of saving the nation’s democracy.
“The only institution left to save our democracy; to save our nation is the National Assembly and we will never shy away from that responsibility no matter the oppression, no matter the intimidation. Men will do whatever they want to do, but God will ultimately have the final say”, he emphasised.
Meanwhile, the Senate has condemned in totality and strongest terms, the destruction and violence visited on the Senator’s empowerment programme, allegedly, describing it as a threat to the nation’s democracy.
The Senate also resolved to set up an Ad-Hoc Committee to investigate the incident, including the alleged involvement of the police in the mayhem.