15 APC senators back Buhari
‘Like Mind’ lawmakers resolve to defend Saraki to the last
At last, reacting to the barrage of criticisms from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and others of the Presidency over its alleged persecution of the Senate President Bukola Saraki, his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu and the Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, 15 All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday rose in stout defence of President Muhammadu Buhari, declaring unequivocal support for him.
They, however, urged their Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterparts to have a change of heart and support the policies and programmes of the Buhari-led Federal Government.
They spoke at a press conference which was only attended by the Unity Forum members of the APC Senate Caucus that also had the only Labour Party Senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, in attendance.
Presided over by Senate Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye, the lawmakers declared that all actions taken by the President, particularly in the anti-corruption war, were in full compliance with the rule of law.
It was later found out that other APC members under the aegis of the Like Minds Senators also met to strategies on how to protect Senate President Bukola Saraki.
The latter group of senators who were responsible for the emergence of Saraki as Senate president in June last year rose from a closed door meeting and resolved to take all measures within their power to stop the executive arm of government from effecting leadership change in the Senate.
It was gathered that they also resolved that should the ‘‘persecution’’ of Saraki continue, the Senate would fight back with every legislative power it has.
The press statement of the 15 APC senators reads in part: “The members of the Joint Caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Labour Party senators in the Senate are stoutly behind the policies and programmes of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. Our support is aimed at actualising the promised desired change that Nigerians voted for last year.
“We are shocked at the totally partisan reaction of our colleagues from the minority party, PDP, to the on-going investigations and recovery of public funds meant for the prosecution of the war against insurgency.
“Contrary to the assertion of our PDP colleagues, the investigation is not a partisan war against a particular political party. It is no longer news item that there was wanton diversion of public funds meant for fighting insurgency to fund campaigns of PDP. Members of the PDP were the sole and iniquitous beneficiaries of this diversion.”
The lawmakers also explained that there was nothing wrong in extending investigation to the opposition party members that have been linked to the corruption that characterised the arms purchase deal.
It continued: “Seeking to recover diverted public funds is neither dictatorial nor against the rule of law. In all the actions, programmes and policies of the Buhari-led APC Federal Government, no PDP member has been unjustly arrested or imprisoned on mere allegations.
“On the contrary, we are daily regaled with news of millions and billions of naira of public funds traced to accounts of individuals some of whom have accepted to return such diverted public funds.
“As law-abiding and patriotic citizens, we cherish the rule of law and the separation of powers among the different arms of government. Political interference based on partisan consideration must be eschewed.
“Members of the Joint Caucus of the APC and Labour Party will always give their best in support of the only President Nigeria has. We plead with our PDP colleagues to rise above partisan inclinations so that together, we all can bring to fruition the positive changes that our people seek and deserve.”
Their position, however, is contrary to that taken by the Senate last Sunday when it alleged that the Federal Government was violating all known democratic principles. While asking Buhari to halt the alleged desperation of some leaders of the APC and other key officials of the Federal Government to destroy the National Assembly, the Senate noted that such actions to get at perceived political enemies was the reason that the anti-corruption war had lost credibility.
A statement issued by the Senate through the chairman of its Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, said: “Nigeria’s democracy is in danger and that the attempt by the executive arm of government to muzzle the legislature and criminalise legislative processes in order to cause leadership change in the National Assembly is a return to the era of impunity and lack of respect for due process which we all fought to abolish.
The move by the Joint Caucus of APC, therefore, is clearly a coup against the legislature and aimed at undermining its independence that could subject the lawmaking institution to the whims and caprices of the executive.’’
It added: “It is a plan to return Nigeria to the dictatorial era which we have, as a nation, voted to reject. It is a dangerous trend with grave implications for the survival of our democracy and the integrity of the component institutions. This rule of men as against the rule of law is also the reason why the War Against Corruption, one of the cardinal objectives of the present administration, is losing credibility because people perceive it to be selective and, in most cases, aimed at settling political or partisan scores .”