PDP recalls senators to Abuja
by Daily Sun
Worried over alleged plots by the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to oust the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, senators elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been summoned to Abuja.
Daily Sun gathered that the PDP senators, who traveled outside Abuja, have been asked by the leadership of the party and its caucus in the Senate to return.
At press time, some senators had already returned to Abuja. The summon, Daily Sun learnt, is to rally round Saraki and Ekweremadu.
The returning senators are expected to hold series of meetings at the weekend to brainstorm on how to checkmate any planned leadership change.
Some senators who spoke in confidence, said they had traveled to the village ahead of senatorial primaries of the party coming up soon. They said their stay outside Abuja was cut short, following recent developments in the polity.
One of them told Daily Sun that senators who traveled outside Nigeria were expected to return before Saturday night, when an elaborate meeting will be held with the leadership of the party.
Already, PDP members in the House of Representatives are meeting to fashion out their own strategy on how to counter an alleged offensive against the leadership of both chambers.
On Wednesday night, PDP caucus in the lower legislative chamber, kept a night vigil at the National Assembly to forestal a purported plan by senators loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari, to reopen the chamber.
Deputy Minority Leader in the House, Chukwuka Onyema, told National Assembly correspondents that they had information that some APC senators had planned to invade the Senate chamber to sit “illegally” and impeach the president of the senate.
The members of the PDP caucus in the House led by Onyema, had assembled in front of the Senate chamber, after they got wind of an alleged plan by some APC senators to converge and impeach Saraki, who announced his defection to the opposition party on Tuesday.
According to him, the APC senators had planned to sit late in the night or early on Thursday morning to remove the Saraki, with the aide of security agencies.
The Deputy Minority Leader said the opposition lawmakers will keep vigil at the National
Assembly to see what would happen.
Daily Sun gathered that a WhatsApp message was sent to the PDP lawmakers by a leader of the party, on Wednesday evening, alerting them to the alleged plot by the members of the ruling party to “sneak into the Senate chamber to hold a sitting where they would sack Saraki.”
A senator from Edo Central and member of the PDP, Clifford Ordia who vowed that nobody can impeach Saraki, said in the absence of the senate president, any plan to reopen the National Assembly would be resisted.
“Saraki cannot be impeached. Those planning to remove him through the back door will fail. We will not allow it to happen. They have no right to reopen the National Assembly and they know it,” he said.
However, a chieftain of the APC in Ekiti State, Senator Ayo Arise has called on the leadership of the party to begin moves to ensure members of the National Assembly who defected from the party lose their seats.
Arise, who insisted that there was no division or factions in the ruling party to warrant such mass defection, advised the party to move against all the defectors.
Arise, who represented Ekiti North Senatorial District in the sixth Assembly disclosed that the trend whereby people take mandate of voters to another party must be stopped.
He urged the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to conduct elections to replace defectors.
But a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ahmed Raji, said Saraki has not violated any known law by defecting from the ruling APC to the opposition PDP.
He also agreed that it was only the senate president that is vested with power under the constitution to reconvene the senate, although, he was quick to point out that he did not believe that some senators were scheming to forcefully reopen the senate.
“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 burning issue of legality or otherwise of Saraki’s defection, Raji said any parliamentarian that has defected may lose his seat if there was no division within his party.