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APC Senators Vow To Continue Boycott  Of Sittings under  Ekweremadu

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators and their All Progressives Congress (APC) counterparts are poise for showdown, over what the later described as plot to handover the Senate to the minority party in the chamber.

This is owing to the decision by the APC senators never to attend any plenary session presided over by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who is a PDP senator.

On the other hand, the PDP senators have advised the APC senators to stop coming to the chambers if they have not recognised the Deputy Senate President as one of the presiding officers of the Senate, who has the powers to preside when the Senate President is not around.

As a prelude to this development, some critical members of the APC lawmakers in the Senate, including some principal officers like the Chief Whip of the Senate, Shola Adeyeye, former Deputy Minority Whip, Abu Ibrahim, the Senator representing Lagos Central, Oluremi  Tinubu among others, walked out on the Deputy Senate President yesterday  when he was called upon to preside over the Senate, to enable the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, attend the swearing in and inauguration of the new Federal Executive Council (FEC) by President Mohammadu Buhari.  

Though the plenary session continued because many of the APC senators, including the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, the Deputy Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, Kabiru  Gaya , Binta Masi Garba, Shehu Sani etc, as well as majority of the PDP senators were present but the Senate President apparently, had to return to the Chambers to preside over the remaining part of plenary session.  

As a confirmation that senators from both APC and PDP are heading for a serious showdown, one of the senators who belonged to the Ahmed Lawan camp, Suleiman Hunkuyi  (Kaduna/north), issued a statement saying that the APC senators will reject any attempt to hand over the Senate to the opposition PDP.      

A statement he issued said “In equal stance, we notice with grave sadness, the handover of the hallowed chamber of the Senate today to the opposition party the PDP, by the Senate President to Ike Ekweremadu as the PDP helmsman to preside over the majority membership of the APC led chamber.

“It is very sad development that must be denounced by all well meaning APC members and leaders alike. With this, to show our protest as APC senators of the 8th Senate, wish to announce that we shall cease to attend any seating presided over by the PDP in an APC majority chamber of the 8th Senate”.

In a related development, a ranking APC senator, who does not want to be named, confirmed this decision to journalists, saying that APC senators cannot seat in a plenary session presided over by the Deputy Senate President, who is a PDP senator.

The senator also warned  that the next time such an attempt is made, all the APC senators will boycott the session en mass because a minority party man will not be allowed again to preside over members of the majority party.

Apparently worried by the  development, the Senate President, who had came back to the Senate chambers to conclude the session because of the discontent among the APC senators, also called for one and half hour closed door session of the Senate where the issue was said to have been discussed among the senators of both political parties.

Our correspondent also gathered that there will be a meeting of the APC senators Thursday to discuss the matter and forge a new front concerning this new face of crisis facing the Senate.

However, the Senate has reacted to the allegation that there was a plot to handover the Senate to the PDP, saying there was no such conspiracy in the Senate.

In a statement issued by the Senate spokesman, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi ( APC Niger North), the senate  said the alleged conspiracy is a figment of imagination of those who claim that there was such conspiracy.

While urging Nigerians to disregard the allegation, the Senate reiterated its “commitment to providing robust legislative actions to support the change agenda of the President Mohammadu Buhari government”. Bi partisan stand of the Senate has not and will not be an impediment”.

Conversely, senator Sam Anyanwu (PDP/Imo East), told our reporter that the position of the PDP senators is that there is nothing the APC senators can do to stop Ekweremadu from presiding over the Senate when Saraki is not around.

He said the Senate is not an APC senate but the Senate of the Federal Republuc of Nigeria, which is guided by the constitution.

Meanwhile, the Senate has adjourned the plenary session to next week, implying that there will be no session today, because of the death of the Clerk of the Senate, Adedotun Durojaiye, the Senate spokesman said.

It was gathered that the adjournment of the session has to do with Rebranding Conference of PDP where all elected federal lawmakers on its platform would be present.

The Source said: “It would be suicidal for Saraki or Dogara to run a plenary session without PDP lawmakers in attendance since they are the backbone of their mandates as presiding officers of both chambers.

Nonetheless, this latest disagreement has also given a clue to why the  Senate President had for about two different times, shutdown the Senate, rather than hand over to the Deputy Senate President, while he attended the prosecution exercise of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), where he is facing trial over false asset declaration.


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