Saraki’s time is over, says Oshiomhole
For the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, the continuous reign of Dr. Bukola Saraki as the Present of the Senate would soon be over. Addressing journalists yesterday at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, the former governor of Edo State assured that the APC would not only push for Saraki’s removal from office, but also go ahead to ensure he is not re-elected in next year’s general elections.
Oshiomhole, who was responding to Saraki’s claim that the President Muhammadu Buhari- led APC administration was behind his ordeal, described Saraki as a villain, who had not only sabotaged the interest of the APC, but whose conduct as Senate President also constituted a clog in the wheel of the progress of the country for the past three years.He particularly accused Saraki of working in cahoots with members of the opposition to sabotage the government through the delay in the passage of this year’s budget and the non-passage of the President’s request for the virement of N228.8 billion for the conduct of next year’s polls.
Claiming that the recent siege on the National Assembly by DSS operatives was stage- managed to smear the image of the Buhari administration, the former Labour leader claimed that such conduct was mainly responsible for the infrastructural deficit in the country.
According to him: “In support of my ‘thesis’ that Saraki has never acted in the Nigeria’s national interest, my submission is that we can look at the way in which he adjourned the Senate about two weeks ago.“The Senate calendar is not a secret to the presiding officer of the Senate. It was known was that the Senate was going to be adjourned by Thursday. By Tuesday morning or Monday night, Saraki used his guesthouse, wrote out the name of senators in provisions, straight for signatories for senators to decamp to the PDP from the APC.
“Happily, some of the senators present refused to sign and that was what frustrated some of his calculations that by the time he was done, he was going to turn APC into a minority party in the Senate.“For careful observers, it is not a coincidence that as senate president was reading defections from the Senate, his counterpart in the House of Representatives was also simultaneously reading the names of those who had defected.
“So, there is a coordination for the defection day. But happily, the preventive steps we had taken to address those genuine grievances frustrated their numbers, such that from 36, they couldn’t get more than 14 senators to decamp.“The calendar of the Senate was that they were going to adjourn on Thursday and so, between Tuesday and Thursday, the Senate was expected, this I confirmed from the Senate leader, to discuss among other things, including the supplementary budget for INEC, realising that INEC requirements are not equipment you will buy from the shelf, as you have to order them and make allowance for manufacturers to manufacture them. So, time is of the essence.
“However, the Senate, under Saraki’s directive, adjourned without considering the matter that was before it, including the budget of INEC.”He continued: “If Saraki adjourned the Senate ahead of schedule to resume at the eve, towards the end of nominations, can that act be said to coincide with the National interests?
“If he decides to frustrate the INEC by denying it what it requires, can he be said to be a defender of democracy? If INEC doesn’t get the funds and therefore unable to conduct credible elections, will that not lead to further serious consequences for our processes and our democratic environment?
“So, I submit that Saraki’s deliberate actions were calculated to undermine democracy, as if he had another state to fly to if this democracy collapses.“But those who struggled for democracy did not do it to have it wrong at the mercy of the Senate President.
“Also, pending before the Senate was a request by Mr. President for virement. Recall that I had earlier spoken about the distortions in the budget and to correct some of those distortions, the President decided to ask for virement.“Saraki adjourned the Senate without considering those virement.”