By JOHNPETER ODIMEGWU, Abuja
THE National Assembly may be resuming this week after a six-week recess amidst apprehension of a likely pandemonium in the Senate. Added to that is the deepening power tussle in the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the leadership of the Senate after Sen. President Bukola Saraki was arraigned Tuesday at the Code of Conduct Tribunal for false declaration of assets.
That singular action is being considered to have provided APC leaders the catalyst to launch the grand assault against the Senate president whom the National Daily gathered may be impeached as Senators resume on September 29.
Several Senators were noticed returning to Abuja with urgency and subsequently switching from one meeting to the other at the weekend, consulting and mobilising.
Some of the APC senators who spoke to the National Daily on condition of anonymity declared it will be a total war in the chamber on resumption, insisting that Saraki must step down for a new leadership.
Some of the Senators confirmed that they have successfully lured about 12 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senators into the APC camp to ensure that both the Senate President and Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu are removed from office.
The APC senators were also boasting on the confidence that they have also brought on some of Saraki’s supporters in the party to deflate the rank of senators in his camp. They did not say specifically what approach they want to adopt, though.
They, however, insisted that whatever approach they consider will make them succeed will be adopted, assuring Nigerians that after the storm APC will put in place Presiding and Principal Officers in the Senate that will be acceptable to the party’s leadership.
The process of removing Saraki and Ekweremadu will be a Herculean task for the APC. The Senate is currently composed of 108 Senators, (INEC is yet to conduct by-election to replace Senator Zana of the APC from Borno State who died before the inauguration of the National Assembly), in the ratio of 59:49 for the APC to the PDP.
Even at the opportune co-option of 12 PDP senators, the PDP will still be left with 37 Senators. Yet the entire Senate requires 72 senators which constitute two-thirds majority, leaving a minority of 36 Senators to succeed in impeaching the Senate president and the deputy.
On appearing before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, over 50 senators were said to have accompanied Senate President Saraki. Some senators had expressed disappointment that they expected the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to have summarily hasten the trial and pronounce guilt, or at minimum, get to a stage of indicting the Senate president on appearance at the tribunal last week.
They said that if any of these had been achieved, the law requires the Senate president to vacate office immediately, besides other sanctions. The adjournment of the trial to October 21, 2015, was said to have frustrated the plot for Saraki’s urgent removal from office.
Meanwhile, amidst speculations that President Muhammadu Buhari may be behind Saraki’s removal before presenting the list of ministerial nominees to the Senate. But the President, at the weekend, reaffirmed his neutrality in the power tussle in the Senate as well as the trial of the Senate president.
Contrary to views that the ministerial list may be suspended as Saraki remains Senate President, Buhari maintained that he would meet the September 30 deadline for the appointment of ministers as he had promised the international community.
Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, declared that there was no going back on the submission of ministerial nominees to the Senate.
According to Adesina, the time given has not yet elapsed and the President, himself, said if by September 30, there is no cabinet, you should come and ask him questions.
President Buhari had during his visit to Ghana on September 7 said that he would unfailingly constitute his cabinet on or before the end of September.
“After I was sworn-in, I said I will have my cabinet in September. I expect that Nigerians should ask me questions after the 30th of September if I do not do so,” he had declared.
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