Rules Forgery: Fury Over Bid To Dock Saraki, Ekweremadu… Buhari Has Turned A Dictator, Says Senate
Outrage overflowed in the two chambers of the National Assembly, yesterday, over bid to arraign the two presiding officers of the Senate for alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Rules 2015, with the Senate pointedly accusing President Muhmmadu Buhari of turning into a dictator.
Following a four-hour closed-door session, the Senate in a unanimous resolution, summoned the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to appear before its Committee on Judiciary within two days, even as senators across party lines affirmed that the Rule Book, allegedly forged, remains authentic.
The Senate resolution also claimed a plot by the Presidency to remove its leadership through what it described as a coup.
The indignation in the Senate over the planned arraignment of Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, also spilled over to the House of Representatives, which in a similar resolution, called on the President to keep to the constitution in his decisions in order not to abort the nation’s democracy.
Similarly, the PDP caucuses in the Senate and House of Representatives, in separate meetings, also lambasted the Presidency, with the PDP senators resolving, henceforth, to stop all manner of cooperation with the All Progressives Congress, APC-led administration.
The PDP House caucus at a press conference in the National Assembly building, vowed to resist any plot to remove the presiding officers of the Senate, describing it as an attempt to foist a dictatorship on the country.
Meanwhile, the reality of the showdown crystallized, yesterday, evening as judicial officials pasted the summons on Saraki and Ekweremadu to appear before the Federal High Court on June 27.
The summons was pasted by way of substituted service, and it became the first time the two men were formally being notified of their prosecution. The Senate resolution followed a four-hour closed door session presided over by Senator Ekweremadu.
Following the session, Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West), upon a matter of urgent public importance, raised a motion accusing the Buhari administration of attempting to change the leadership of the Senate by muzzling the legislative arm.
The motion, which was adopted unanimously without dissent, warned that the Senate might be compelled to withdraw its support for the administration if it continued to interfere in its domestic affairs.
The Senate said the attorney-general must appear to “justify with evidence the basis for his action and why it does not constitute gross misconduct, incompetence, contempt of court and abuse of office.”
It insisted that the “Senate Rule 2015 was not forged” and that “it is the authentic rule of the Senate.” The motion, tagged: “Motion on the imminent threat to our democracy as it relates to the alleged invitation of our principal officers by the court in Abuja,” asked the Senate to rise and defend democracy.
Melaye’s motion went further: “This Senate notes further that the judiciary had through several rulings in a recent case suit no AFC/ABJ/CS/646/2015 on the same issue, warned the executive arm from treading the path of criminalising or interfering in the running of the internal affairs of the Senate.
“This Senate, therefore, acknowledges the grave implications this emerging trend poses to the security, continued existence, unity, and survival of our dear country.
“This Senate is aware that the legislature is subject to provisions of the constitution to regulate its procedures as explicitly stated in Section 60 of the Nigerian Constitution, which we have all sworn to uphold.”
He said he was disturbed that instead of “applying itself to the myriads of problems confronting the nation, including the escalating cost of living, extremism, worsening insecurity, rising ethnic divisions, skyrocketing unemployment, declining national productivity and an economy nose-diving into recession, the executive continued to be hell-bent on chasing rats while the federation burns.”
Upon that and other resolutions, the Senate declared that if its rules were fake, then the treatments the President had received using the same rules were fake.
Ekweremadu Ekweremadu, who presided over the day’s session, warned that “those who use their public office today to persecute others must realise that there is no condition that is permanent.
“I don’t intend to say much because I’m involved. I just want to add that those who use their public office today to persecute others must realise that no condition is permanent.“
All senators, who took turns to contribute to the motion, accused the executive of unnecessary interference in the affairs of the National Assembly, warning it to steer clear.
The House of Representatives, in its resolution on the issue, also charged the Presidency to always abide by provisions of the constitution of the country and not do anything that would jeopardise the nation’s democracy.
The House resolution was upon a motion sponsored by Tajudeen Ayo Yusuf (Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu, Kogi State), entitled ‘Urgent need to safeguard the nation’s democracy and protect the integrity and independence of the National Assembly.”
The motion, which was unanimously carried, also tasked President Buhari to call his attorney-general to order.
The resolution said the move to arraign the two presiding officers of the Senate was an attempt to dabble into matters wholly the internal affairs of the Senate. According to the House, the alleged meddlesomeness of the executive is a deliberate and concerted attack on the National Assembly to render it useless in the eyes of the general public, adding that “if this ugly trend continues unabated, it will be detrimental to good governance and highly damaging to our democracy.”