Senate minority leader cautions APC colleagues against disinformation
Senate minority leader, Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South, PDP), has advised her colleagues in the All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus to stop spreading “misleading information” about the red chamber’s decision to approach the courts over the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
The majority leader, Ahmad Lawan, had dissociated the APC caucus from the decision of the senate to seek the interpretation of the constitution in the Supreme Court on whether President Buhari acted within his powers in suspending Onnoghen.
But Olujimi stated yesterday that it was usually the prerogative of the presiding officer to decide whether an issue concerning the chamber should be referred to the court for adjudication, and that the position was supported by precedents.
She said: “I am surprised that a few of my colleagues in the APC caucus are spreading disinformation that they were not party to the decision to file a case seeking interpretation of the provision of the constitution concerning the president’s decision to suspend the CJN.
“Those who are saying this are just being mischievous. They know such a decision is not meant for debate on the floor of the senate. It is the prerogative of the presiding officer, and in this particular case, majority of the people in senate leadership suggested and supported the idea. There is no precedent of when decision on whether to resort to court is referred to the plenary. And there are several cases that the senate has been and is still involved in.”
Olujumi lamented that “those our colleagues in the APC who are spreading this disinformation are those who have been in the senate for many years and they know the rules, conventions and practices. That is why I consider their current position as mischievous.
“What do they stand to lose in our seeking judicial interpretation of the law? I believe that, as democrats and lawmakers, it should be our interest to strengthen the law and support the independence of the judiciary.
This recourse to the Supreme Court will only strengthen our understanding of the law and clear ambiguities about the provision of the constitution which we all swore to protect.”It has always been the position of the opposition senator that Nigeria is greater than any person or party.
“As legislators, we should always take position in the interest of the country and not allow partisan, group or individual interest to push us into taking a stand detriment to national interest.
“As members of the eighth senate, we have always agreed among ourselves to stand for Nigeria, even when it is against the preference of our party. My colleagues in the APC caucus should return to this agreement. It is Onnoghen today, it may be somebody else tomorrow,” she added.
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