Anxiety over fate of Saraki, Dogara as NASS resumes

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APC

After some months, members of the National Assembly will resume today from their annual recess

In the Senate, the session may be stormy on account of plots to remove Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, just as members of both parties traded words over the issue yesterday. While the PDP warned their APC colleagues not to beat the drums of war, some APC senators vowed that the Senate President will be removed at the slightest opportunity.

There are also the issues of approval of funds for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to conduct the 2019 elections; amendments to the electoral bill; state and community police among other burning and controversial issues to be tackled. Both chambers of the National Assembly went on recess on Tuesday, July 25, instead of Thursday July 27 on a controversial note, after what was considered a botched attempt to remove Saraki and Ekweremadu.

The Police blocked the residence of Saraki and prevented Ekweremadu from leaving his residence to attend Senate session. However, Saraki, apparently abreast of the bid attended the session where 17 senators left the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and thereafter adjourned for recess.

A similar scenario played out in the House of Representatives, which also went on recess after 37 lawmakers left the APC for opposition parties, including the PDP. Saraki was to formally defect to the PDP on July 31. The move fuelled calls by APC leaders on him to resign his Senate presidency or be impeached. Saraki countered that the APC does not have the two-third majority or 73 senators needed to impeach him, a reason today’s resumption is expected to be stormy.

House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, two weeks ago left the APC for the PDP and has picked a re-election ticket on the banner of the PDP for his constituency in Bauchi State. He is also a target for impeachment as the APC is insisting on its control of the National Assembly as the majority party in the country. Indeed, on July 24 when the National Assembly adjourned for recess, to resume on September 25 in line with the Senate legislative calendar, some lawmakers, especially those bent on his removal as Senate president, described the adjournment as abrupt against the backdrop that the announcement came shortly after some senators dumped the ruling APC for the PDP.

Senators who defected that day were Dino Melaye (Kogi West); former National Chairman of PDP, Barnabas Gemade (Benue North-East); Abdullahi Danbaba (Sokoto South); Mohammed Shaaba Lafiagi (Kwara North); Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara South) and Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna North). Others were Senators Hamman Isa Misau (Bauchi Central), Monsurat Sunmonu (Oyo Central), Usman Bayero Nafada (Gombe North), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano Central), and Soji Akanbi (Oyo South).

Also on the list were Senators Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi North), Olanrewaju Tejuoso (Ogun Central) and Abdulaziz Nyako (Adamawa Central). But in a U- turn, Senators Soji Akanbi (APC, Oyo South) and Lanre Tejuoso (Ogun Central) whose names were contained in the letter later addressed journalists, saying that they remained members of the APC. The lawmakers could not resume on September 25. The resumption was postponed to today, October, 9 via a statement by the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori. No specific reason was given for the extension, even though the parties were holding their primaries then.

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