Senate Disowns Ita Enang Over Threat Against Defecting Senators
Less than 24 hours after Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang threatened that the leadership of the red chamber will declare the seats of defecting Senators vacant, the hallowed chamber today disowned the claim, tagging it as the personal view of the legislator. The threat by Enang which has begun to generate tension that may eventually sweep away the David Mark headed leadership of the senate.
The Senate position was made known in a statement by its Spokesman Enyinnaya Abaribe who also debunked insinuations linking the Senate President David Mark to the statement credited to Enang.
According to the statement disowning Enang who is of PDP from Akwa Ibom state, the senate said ”in the first place, there is no acrimony in the Senate irrespective of political party affiliation. The Senate is still on vacation. to resume on the 14th of January and only after its deliberations would any statement on urgent matters of state be issued.
“It is, therefore, preposterous to attribute the personal opinion of a Senator to represent the resolution of the Senate and its highly respected leadership as exemplified by Senate President David Mark. Senate position, as statutory, is always relayed by its spokesman in which case it becomes safe to say that the Senate has spoken.
“The Senate is at peace and no sign that Senators are working at cross-purposes with each other. It is one whole family of patriotic Nigerians who first and foremost defers to issues that are of national interest.
“The Senate, as presently constituted, is peopled by very distinguished Nigerians who see the institution for what it is; a hallowed chamber whose decisions and resolutions are shaped by honour and love for country”.
Before the effort by the senate leadership to douse the tension, the Vice chairman of the Committee on Education, Senator Olusola Adeyeye had reacted to Enang’s claim saying that no amount of threats, intimidation or blackmail can stop the gale of defections of members from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Chairman of the Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes Committee, Senator Victor Lar also spoke in the same vein warning that no Senator should arrogate powers that he does not have to himself by issuing threats against defecting lawmakers.
Adeyeye who is of the APC from Osun state said in a statement today that: “We have watched and read with keen interest, some pronouncements on the proposed defection of some members from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) emanating from the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang. Senator Ita Enang would do well not to arrogate powers, which he does not have, to himself.
“On this matter, Senator Ita Enang is speaking for himself. He does not even have the mandate to speak for the entire Senate on defection of members. We want to make it clear that Senators would make their opinions known when they resume from the Yuletide break next week.
“We also want to make it abundantly clear that nobody can detract or subtract from the constitutional rights of Nigerians to freedom of association and the National Assembly is the institution designed by the Constitution, not only to encourage but also to enforce the rights of Nigerians.
“The National Assembly should be the foundation of freedom in this country. It is supposed to guarantee the freedom of Nigerians…subject, of course, to the rights of the constituents of lawmaker if he’s not following the dictates of his people.
“We warn those attempting to blackmail lawmakers that that tactic will backfire. Legislators should be free to stand by their conscience without any threat of blackmail. The laws of the land are clear on movement from one party to another and nobody should assume a position of authority he does not hold.
“Senator Ita Enang has been in the National Assembly since 1999 and he didn’t voice any opinion then when members defected from other parties the PDP; isn’t it curious that he has now found his voice when the reverse is the case?
“At a time like this when Nigeria needs statesmen, Senator Ita Enang should know by now that blackmail and threats of declaring seats vacant will not work in an atmosphere where members want to assert their rights by moving from the PDP to another party.
In his own reaction, Senator Victor Lar of the PDP, representing Plateau South senatorial district also said: “Less than a few days to the resumption of Senate, there have been reports credited to the Chairman of the Committee on Rules and Business that any Senator who defects from the political party on which he was elected to the Senate to another party would automatically lose his seat. Reports also quoted him as saying that any such move would mean that the seat is vacant.
“I want to state categorically that the issue of declaring any senators’ seat vacant should be left to the courts and not a matter that should be at the discretion of any Senator. This is a time when caution and healing of those aggrieved within the PDP is required.”
On Thursday, Senate President David Mark had given assurances that he is prepared to “do the needful,” to stem the crisis in the party, adding that PDP leaders will unite to save the party from its current crisis.
“We will arrest the current situation and save our party from further disintegration. some Nigerians are talking about Tsunami in the PDP because of the defection by some members of our party, holding elective and non-elective positions.
“But as leaders, we will not sit by and continue to allow this drift. We shall do the needful and ensure that we save our great party. Admitting that the development is a challenge, Senator Mark said “genuine efforts would be made to reconcile our party men and women and bring peace and unity in the party”, he had promised.
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