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Group condemns call for Saraki’s resignation

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Senate president Bukola Sarak.<br />Photo Guardian.ng

A prominent Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ahmed Raji, has said that contrary to insinuations in some quarters, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, did not violate any known law by defecting from the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The senior lawyer, who made the clarification in an interview with The Guardian, explained that only the Senate President was vested with the constitutional powers to reconvene the senate.

While expressing doubts that some senators are scheming to forcefully reopen the senate, Raji said: “I do not think anybody has threatened to forcefully reopen the senate.

What they have said is that they want to appeal to the leadership to reconvene.

If you check their rules, it is the prerogative of the president to convene the senate.”

On the vexed issue of legality or otherwise of Saraki’s defection, the senior advocate said any parliamentarian that has defected may lose his seat if there was no division within his party, stressing that what Saraki has done is presumed legal unless the action is challenged in a court of law.

“Under the constitution, section 65, if a parliament defects except there is a division, he may lose his seat.

But the question is, is there a division within the APC?

Is rAPC a division, if it is held to be a division, he has not violated any law,” he added.

The legal practitioner pointer out that the issue of Saraki’s defection could at best be described as a mute one, just as he urged the ruling party to seek judicial determination of the matter so as to clear the air once and for all.

Meanwhile, the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG) has condemned in strong terms the call by APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, urging Saraki to resign from his position as the Senate president.

In a statement, yesterday, national coordinator of the group, Dr. Sylvester Ofiem, faulted Oshiomhole’s demand, saying the APC national chairman should perish the thought that the senate president would resign on the grounds of honour and morality.

Ofiem contended that Saraki was firmly in control of the senate and has truly earned the confidence of most of his colleagues, noting that the Senate President has provided commendable leadership in the last three years and also demonstrated uncommon courage to secure independence of the upper chamber of the National Assembly.

He said: “The Senate president has not made any pretension from the beginning that he would not surrender the independence of the legislative arm to the executive.

In fact, Saraki has courageously moved the senate far above the desired level of mere rubber stamp of the executive arm.”

The group further argued that the APC chairman lacked moral justification for calling on Saraki to resign.

They contended in good conscience that APC could not substantiate its claim of having majority members in the senate.

Dr. Ofiem added: “How come the 52 APC senators they claim to have could not be gathered to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock, if they truly have the majority.

We have in on record that only 39 senators attended the meeting with the president.”

The group coordinator maintained that what applied to the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal in 2014 when he defected to the APC should also be the made applicable to Saraki this time.

The statement reads, “So far APC did not advise Tambuwal to resign his position then as the Speaker of the House of Representatives when he dumped PDP to join the APC; it would only smack of hypocrisy on the part of Adams Oshiomhole to have advised Saraki to resign as the Senate President for dumping APC for the PDP”.

Dr. Sylvester further made a sweeping condemnation of clandestine moves by some APC senators to forcefully reconvene the senate with the sole intention of impeaching Bukola Saraki as the Senate President.

He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately reign in these desperate senators in order for him not to get stained with the dirt of illegality.

Although the group emphasized they and indeed majority of lovers of democracy in the country are prepared to resist and frustrate the sinister plans of these senators.

Dr. Sylvester said, “ President Buhari must immediately put a stop to the surreptitious moves by the likes of Senators George Akume, Ovie Omo-Agege and their co-travelers to save the legislative arm from utter desecration”.

Meanwhile, Ofiem equally argued in his statement that there is no resolution of the senate or any known law that mandates a Senate President who defect from one political party to another to resign his position.

The Coordinator opined that it would be better for the ruling party to challenge the matter in a court of competent jurisdiction rather than the sanctimonious position of Adams Oshiomole. “

I will simply advise APC to challenge the defection of Saraki in a court of law instead of the appeal of Oshiomhole that is baseless.


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