The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, will be impeached when the National Assembly resumes from its recess in September, Senator Muhammad Ali Ndume said yesterday.
Ndume, who represents Southern Borno Senatorial Zone at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, dropped the hint to newsmen in Maiduguri.
But Senators Isa Hamma Misau (Bauchi) and Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara) said the Senate President will keep his seat despite leaving the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The senators vowed to use their numerical strength in the Senate to fight to ensure that Saraki remains the Number Three citizen.
This is coming as senators from the two political parties are bracing up for a showdown over Saraki’s position.
There has been tension since July 24 when 14 APC senators left the party, with 12 of them joining the PDP, while two joined the African Democratic Congress (ADC).
With Saraki’s defection last Tuesday, the remaining APC senators began plans on how to retain the Senate President’s seat.
Ndume spoke about the planned impeachment after attending the maiden edition of the Southern Borno Leadership Summit on power shift to the zone in 2019 governorship election.
“Wait and see, we will impeach the Senate President,” he said.
The senator rebuked all the governors and members of the federal legislature who massively defected from the ruling APC to other political parties for committing “illegality”.
“The law says when you are elected on the platform of a party, you can only defect from that party by the instrument of a faction within that party,” he maintained.
“As it is today, there is no faction within the APC in the legal sense of it,” he said, adding, “there is only rAPC and rAPC is not a faction of the APC by law.”
“If you defect from your party, not on the basis of a faction, you lose whatever position you attain by the vehicle of that party,” he said.
He attributed ‘gang up’ against President Muhammadu Buhari, in the form of the massive defection from the ruling party, to a plot to defeat the President at the 2019 general elections, “because his anti-corruption dragnet will definitely get at them in his second tenure.”
Some APC senators, notably Abu Ibrahim (Katsina South) and Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West), had, following Saraki’s defection, called for the Senate President to resign his position having clinched the number three citizen’s seat under the APC platform.
Sen Ibrahim said that there would be no peace in the Senate if Saraki remains Senate President.
Also, Sen Adamu told Daily Trust on Sunday in an exclusive interview that Nigerians should expect leadership change in the Senate soon following Saraki’s defection.
But two senators, who are staunch loyalists of the Senate President, Misau (PDP, Bauchi Central) and Ibrahim (PDP, Kwara South) have warned Sen Ibrahim and his fellow travellers in APC not to foment any trouble when the Senate resumes on September 25.
They said the Senate President will never resign from the position and challenged Sen Ibrahim to do his waorst.
Misau and Ibrahim, in a statement they jointly signed, which came through Saraki’s media office, said Sen Ibrahim and his colleagues would meet their match if they tried anything illegal even with all the deployment of security forces which they might have been assured of by the executive arm of government.
“It is obvious from the statements of Abu Ibrahim that he and his cohorts are not democrats. They do not believe in the rule of law, the provisions of the constitution, the standing order of the Senate, parliamentary procedure and the due process.
“How will a supposed democrat be threatening disruption of peace in the parliament because his party lost members and lost its majority status? His statements showed why one of them led thugs to disrupt the proceeding of the Senate, steal the mace, the symbol of authority of the legislature, and yet there is no consequence.
“Both the mastermind and his thugs have been protected from being prosecuted. Now, Abu Ibrahim has given us an insight into what they are planning and we will be ready for them. He has also shown an indication of how he, as the chairman of the Police Affairs Committee, has been misusing the police against other senators.”
Claims and counter-claims over parties’ strength
Daily Trust on Sunday reports that there have been claims and counter-claims by both senators from the APC and the PDP over their numerical strength in the Red Chamber.
Each of the two sides claimed majority seats in the Senate since the gale of defections started on July 24.
“APC should note that they are now the minority party. PDP has more members. When we resume, if they push us, we will move for a head count of members and change some of our principal officers to reflect party strength,” the statement by Senators Misau and Ibrahim said.
“Today, by the list paraded by APC themselves, they have only 48 Senators and PDP has 54, APGA has 2 and ADC has 2. There are two vacancies. That is the distribution in the Senate. Let them continue to deceive themselves,” it said.
However, a state-by-state analysis of the distribution of senators based on party affiliation showed that Abia has 3 PDP; Adamawa, 2 APC, 1 ADC; A/Ibom, 2 PDP, 1 APC; Anambra, 2 APGA, 1 APC; Bauchi, 2 PDP; Bayelsa, 3 PDP; Benue, 2 PDP, 1 APC; Borno, 3 APC; C/River, 2 PDP, 1 APC; Delta, 2 PDP, 1 APC; Ebonyi, 2 PDP, 1 APC; Edo, 2 PDP, 1 APC; Ekiti, 2 PDP, 1 APC; Enugu, 3 PDP; FCT, 1 PDP; Gombe 2 PDP, 1 APC; Imo, 2 APC, 1 PDP; Jigawa, 2 APC, 1 PDP and Kaduna, 2 PDP, 1 APC.
Others are Kano, 2 APC, 1 PDP; Katsina, 2 APC; Kebbi, 3 APC; Kogi, 3 PDP; Kwara, 3 PDP; Lagos, 3 APC; Nasarawa, 2 PDP, 1 APC; Niger, 3 APC; Ogun, 2 APC, 1 PDP; Ondo, 3 APC; Osun, 2 APC, 1 PDP; Oyo, 2 APC, 1 ADC; Plateau, 2 PDP, 1 APC; Rivers, 2 APC, 1 PDP; Sokoto, 2 APC, 1 PDP; Taraba, 2 PDP, 1 APC; Yobe, 2 APC, 1 PDP and Zamfara, 3 APC.
The above indicates that APC has 53, PDP 50, while APGA and ADC have 2 each. There are two vacant seats vacated as a result of the demise of Senators Ali Wakili and Mustapha Bukar from Bauchi and Katsina states, respectively. Until their demise, they were both members of the APC.
Our correspondent reports that although Senators Hope Uzodinma (Imo), Stella Odua (Anambra), Sunny Ogbuoji (Ebonyi), Fatima Raji-Razaki (Ekiti), had all left the PDP to the APC (3) and APGA (1), respectively, their defection letters, just like that of Saraki, were yet to be read on the floor of the Senate.
Also, Sen Joshua Dariye, the only APC senator from Plateau State, was recently sentenced to prison, although he remains a lawmaker having appealed the judgment.
Similarly, the PDP recently expelled one of its senators from Ogun State, Buruji Kashamu for alleged anti-party activities.
Senators that joined the PDP were Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano); Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara); Shaba Lafiagi (Kwara); Bayero Nafada (Gombe); Ubale Shittu (Jigawa); Dino Melaye (Kogi); Abdullahi Danbaba (Sokoto); Isa Hamma Misau (Bauchi); Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi); Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna) and Barnabas Gemade (Benue).
Those that defected to the ADC are Monsurat Sumonu (Oyo) and Abdulaziz Nyako (Adamawa).
Sen Lanre Tejuoso from Ogun State was one of those that had announced their defection to the PDP on July 24, but he later changed his mind and even attended a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and 42 APC senators, where he said: “Sir, your son has returned home.”
Senators Misau and Ibrahim said they would use their strength to defend the position of the present leadership of the Senate under Saraki and the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.
“We will defend democracy and rule of law against the pretenders. We will show that every Senator represent different constituencies in our country.
“Our colleague from Katsina State has equally demonstrated that even though he has spent four terms in the legislature, he has not imbibed parliamentary ethos. Even his knowledge of the provisions of the law and the Senate rules is suspect. That is why he misrepresented the provisions of Rule 12 order 1, 2 and 3 of the Senate about the process of reconvening the Senate after it properly adjourned.
“By the provision, without all the leaders of the four parties initiating the reconvening of the Senate before the adjourned date, nothing can legally happen. Also without the consent of the Senate President, nothing can happen.”