Why I will not resign as Senate President – Saraki
The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Wednesday held a Press Conference to address yesterday’s invasion of the National Assembly by armed security agents.
Taking questions from the Press at the World Press Conference, the Senate President stated he was not given the position, but was elected.
“I was not given this position, I was elected. It does not say you have to come from a particular political party. I was elected by our members, by the Constitution”, Saraki said.
“It does not say you have to come from a particular political party. I was elected by our members, by the Constitution, it is not expected that I should vacate my seat.”
On the claim by the APC that the invasion was instigated by himself to garner public sympathy, Saraki retorted that the suggestion is insult to the intelligence of Nigerians.
“It is an insult to our integrity. We have our security. Those of you who were there yesterday saw that as early as 6am, scores of cars started arriving at NASS. We did not request for more security. The only times we have issues here are when the.National Assembly is invaded, such as the theft of the mace. Let us not insult the intelligence of Nigerians.”
Before the Question and answer session, Saraki gave a statement.
Below are excerpts as Senate President, @bukolasaraki then answers questions from the Press:
Q: The anti-climax of yesterday was the issue of removing you as the Senate President. We have been having issues of the Senate taking resolutions on summoning the IGP and he has still not appeared before the Senate and now, APC alleged that you are responsible for what happened yesterday. What is your take?
A: It is an insult to our integrity. We have our security. Those of you who were there yesterday saw that as early as 6am, scores of cars started arriving at NASS. We did not request for more security. The only times we have issues here are when the National Assembly is invaded, such as the theft of the mace. Let us not insult the intelligence of Nigerians. Let us focus on issues that are important today, we must protect democracy and rule of law.
Q: Now that you have defected from APC to PDP, will you be relinquishing the seat? And will you be running for President in 2019?
A: I was not given this position, I was elected. It does not say you have to come from a particular political party. I was elected by our members, by the Constitution, it is not expected that I should vacate my seat. The question of running for President should not be a part of today’s discussion.
Q: What action will be taken by the National Assembly to ensure that this does not happen again?
A: It’s at times like this that the National Assembly plays its role. We will continue to ensure that these security agencies are neutral and in cases where they going outside the rule of law and that they are called to order. The officers must be investigated to find out who authorized them to go. The Executive know what to do and did the right thing yesterday. Punitive measures will be taken to ensure that this does not occur again.
Q: Will changing the election order not change the sequence of the election?
A: We had the issue of changing the electoral sequence. We took our decisions which the President did not agree with and in the interest of moving this country forward, we made the changes Mr. President requested for and sent them to him for signing, all we are asking is that he kindly signs and send it to us.
Q: Presidency has requested that NASS reconvene, what is the National Assembly’s stance on this issue and on Senator Akpabio’s defection?
A: Consistent actions must be taken to protect democracy. I don’t think anything else should be said on this matter for us. Going on recess does not cause a shutdown in the country. The day we adjourned, we realized the electoral bill was not passed and we sat and deliberated on it before adjourning. It is amazing how no one is asking why nothing came from the executive on this up until July. We are ready to support the Executive on all these issues. I and the Speaker have already sent for the INEC chairman to meet with us.
A: We all want a free and fair election next year. In the budget deliberation, they had months to present this issue and the did not. On Senator Akpabio, it is not a national issue and as such, I will not be making any comments on it.
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