The Senate on Thursday began an investigation into the alleged plot by some members to sack Senator Bukola Saraki as President.
A Peoples Democratic Party lawmaker, Senator Obinna Ogba (Ebonyi-Central), who raised the alarm through a point of order at the plenary on Wednesday, alleged that the senators were also mobilising civil society organisations and trade groups to protest against Saraki’s leadership.
Ogba said, “I rise this morning to bring to the notice of the Senate that there is a plan by some people in this Senate, maybe under the leadership of my distinguished colleague, particularly Senator Abdullahi Adamu. You will remember that in January, Senator (Isa) Misau made the comment here that there was a plan to remove the Senate President, and in fact the leadership.
“Now, I have reliable information that some people are already planning to destabilise this Senate, including the Senate’s leadership by organising demonstrations, of which money is already exchanging hands.
“I believe that all of us are leaders in this country and anybody who seeks anything that can destabilise this country, the Senate should avoid it.”
Ogba urged aggrieved senators to present their grievances on the floor of the Senate, rather than “go outside the chamber and start mobilising civil organisations and market women to hold demonstrations against the leadership of the Senate.”
He added, “I want this matter to be investigated properly. I have evidence to show what I am saying. There is a telephone discussion between Senator Abdullahi Adamu and some other people. This is a very serious issue. When Senator Misau raised it in January, we didn’t take it as anything. We must have to stand up to look into this. If we treat this with the wave of hand, when it eventually happens, I would say that I already said it.”
Ogba asked that he be allowed to lay his “documentary evidence” before the Senate.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, asked Ogba to do so, after which he referred the matter to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, with the mandate to report back in two weeks.
Reacting to the allegation in a telephone conversation with journalists, Adamu said he was not in Abuja but a colleague had drawn his attention to what happened on the floor of the Senate today.
He said, “It is amusing but very saddening at the same time. I am not in any way after Saraki. Saraki is like a son to me. I had every right to contest the Senate President seat three years ago when the 8th Senate was inaugurated but I never did because I wasn’t interested. It is therefore not logical for anyone to say I’m interested in the seat now, and will be planning to destabilise the Senate. To achieve what? For what purpose? It is not right for anyone to make such unfounded insinuations.
“We are almost three years in office, the election year is drawing nearer and I think anyone thinking of upstaging the leadership of the Senate for any reason will only be fighting a losing battle because it is not what should naturally occupy the mind of any serious-minded lawmaker now.
“I am not in any way afraid of anyone who thinks I’ve offended him. I have the neck to carry my cross, but no one should cook up lies just to discredit me or any senator for that matter.”
The former Governor of Nasarawa State stated that he was ready to appear before the Senate panel if summoned on the matter.
“If I’m asked to appear before the Committee on Ethics and Privileges, I will come out clean because whoever raises the allegations will have to come out and present incontrovertible facts to prove the allegations. Then, names of other so-called collaborators will be made known; they will be confronted, evidence of such a meeting will be produced; those accused will be asked to defend themselves, and recommendations will be made by the committee based on facts presented to it,” he said.
Adamu added, “As for me, let me repeat that I’m not in any way after Saraki. I can’t be after Saraki and I won’t do anything to upstage the leadership as being claimed because it’s a fruitless venture. But if I believe strongly in a cause, I stand by it. If I’ve offended anyone by my strong stance on some issues in the Senate in accordance with my conviction, I stand by it anytime. But the issue of trying to cause disaffection in the Senate is no issue at all.”
Adoption of the report by the Senate and House of Representatives Conference Committee on the amendment to the Electoral Act had caused a sharp division in the ranks of the APC caucus.
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Author: Editor, Nigerian Times