Posted by News Express | 6 August 2018 | 1,480 times
The Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON) and chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, has urged both pro and anti-Saraki Senators to spare the infrastructure revolution of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Okechukwu, who is an ardent support of President Buhari, made the appeal on Sunday while speaking on the raging storm over the balance of power between and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the National Assembly.
The storm was ignited by the recent defection of Senate President, Bukola Saraki and about 13 other senators from the ruling APC to PDP, the main opposition party in the country.
Responding to questions from journalists in Enugu, the VON DG posited that whichever side has the majority, neither the APC nor the PDP's interest is in any form, more paramount than that of our dear country, Nigeria.
According to Okechukwu, Buhari’s Road, Rail, Agriculture and Power (RRAP) projects are aimed at transforming Nigeria into an economic giant, thereby securing the future of generations yet unborn in the country. It will stop the killings in Nigeria and even of our youths in South Africa.
He assured that the RRAP would boost economic development, generate employment, make Nigeria self-sufficient in food production and cushion insecurity nationwide
Reminded that he told the crowd at the declaration of Enugu APC governorship aspirant, Barrister Ifeanyi Nwoga, on Saturday that APC is still maintaining majority of seats at the National Assembly, Okechukwu admitted that he said so out of his confidence in the Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan who maintained that APC has the majority.
“Distinguished Senate Ahmed Lawan, our majority leader in the Senate has maintained that we are still in the majority and I have tremendous respect for him. He is a veteran and a high ranking senator. To be honest my appeal to both sides of the divide - pro and anti-Saraki side- is in the name of God, to spare Buhari’s RRAP projects,” Okechukwu said.
He described Buhari’s RRAP projects as the massive critical infrastructure projects President Buhari has embarked upon. “It has project completion cycle of 3-5 years lifespan and it targets 5,000 kilometres of federal roads, 5,000 kilometres of rail lines, 5,000 additional megawatts of electricity and self-sufficiency in food production,” Okechukwu answered.
On why from his submissions, he appears to be working at cross purposes with his party, the APC, which had taken up arms against Saraki, threatening to sack him as Senate President, the VON DG said APC did not threaten to sack Saraki but only asked him to honourably resign.
His words: “For the avoidance of doubt what can be best described as the position of our great party, should be the statement, when Comrade Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole asked Senator Saraki to resign in honour. He didn’t threaten to sack him, like some other voices. Comrade Chairman is pragmatic and reasonable bipartisanship approach, given the position of the Law.
“Methinks we should adopt the model of the United States of America, where we borrowed the presidential system from. In fact, it was only a few instances in the history of over 200 years of US presidential system that the party which controls the executive controls the Congress.
“It has always been carefully created bipartisan relationship in the overall interest of their country. What is usual is that whenever Democrats or Republicans win the presidency, with majority in the Congress, they lose in the mid-term elections, which is most likely to happen to Republicans under President Donald Trump.”
Okechukwu explained that his appeal for a rethink was in the direction of bipartisanship, so as to save Buhari’s RRAP projects, some of which require endorsement and guaranteed by the National Assembly.
He cited as an example, the Eastern Corridor standard gauge rail line, going from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, a catalyst for economic development of 18 states, which was not captured in the first bouquet of loans. We cannot throw the baby away with the bath water, as the old adage cautioned.
Okechukwu appealed that this kind of project which would cover 2,000 kilometres standard gauge rail line should be spared from political harm’s way and must not be sacrificed on the altar of 2019 general elections or which party controls the majority in the National Assembly.
On the feasibility of the bipartisanship when his brother, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President was being investigated, he said that the work of the anti-graft agency must be separated from critical infrastructure, which would be beneficial to generations unborn.
“Please, kindly separate the anti-graft war from the issue of provision of critical infrastructure, which Buhari’s RRAP epitomises for generations yet unborn. Corollary, don’t forget that it was unwittingly my big brother who poisoned the chalice of the cordial Bipartisanship and by extension Saraki’s chalice. If he had followed the uncommon savvy of his boss, Distinguished Senator David Mark, maybe the story could have been different. On that fateful day, Mark could have won the office of Senate President, but restrained himself,” the VON boss said.
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