Posted by News Express | 5 November 2014 | 3,830 times
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senators yesterday began what has been described as protest sittings as a result of what they called undemocratic hijack of the structures of the party by state governors, through Saturday’s ward congresses across states of the federation.
During the sitting, the senators did not consider any issue on the order paper, as they merely converged, opened the session and immediately adjourned.
Sources in the Senate said the same situation would be repeated henceforth, adding that the lawmakers had discovered that they were seen as inconsequential by both the PDP and the Presidency.
“This is the chamber that has done a lot to stabilise the polity. This is the chamber that stood by Mr President and gave him all the powers to become acting president and then president. But the president has shown that the sacrifices of this set of lawmakers are not appreciated.
“The party has ensured that more than two thirds of the senators will not return and many will be replaced by the governors. Remember, it was the class of governors that did everything to thwart the Doctrine of Necessity,” a senator said.
The anger in the Senate grew to a hilt, following reports that most of the PDP senators had been schemed out of reckoning by state governors in the just-concluded ward congresses, which had laid the foundation for their routing at the senatorial primaries.
The same fate was said to have befallen PDP members in the House of Representatives, where it was said that four-fifth of them had already been schemed out of returning to the National Assembly in 2015.
Anger further grew as some of the senators, who had defected to the rival All Progressives Congress (APC), started mocking their PDP colleagues on the floor.
One of the PDP senators quoted an APC lawmaker as saying that those who defected to the opposition party saw the defeat of the PDP senators coming.
“We saw that the PDP does not value us and that President Jonathan is only interested in the governors. Now that you people have been thrown away, we in the APC are better off. We are now in a position to determine your political fate,” a PDP senator quoted a colleague, who recently defected to the APC, as saying.
The PDP senators were, however, supported by their APC colleagues, who promptly backed the motion for adjournment.
The senators said they would continue to open the chamber, approve the votes and proceedings and adjourn until further notice.
“Since they said we are inconsequential, they should bring the governors to come and do our legislative business. We will no longer consider any legislative business,” a senator said.
The situation was also worsened by the refusal of the Ministry of Finance to release the quarterly allowances of the senators and members of the House of Representatives.
A source said that the Minister of Finance, Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is one of the ministers who have procured more enemies for President Goodluck Jonathan by delaying funds meant for the running of National Assembly.
Besides the allowances of the lawmakers, the staff of National Assembly had also not been paid their October salaries, while their leave allowances and other legislative allowances had not been paid.
The same scenario happened in the last quarter, with Chairmen of Senate and House Services almost practically sleeping in the Ministry of Finance.
A senator said the delay in payment of their third quarter allowances was deliberate and meant to strip them bare, ahead of the ward congresses of PDP.
The senator said the delay in releasing their allowances since the first week of October was meant to empower the governors to rout them at the congresses.
“Now that the deed has been done, they will now release our allowances, we know the game they are playing,” the lawmaker said.
Sources in the Senate also said that by December 3, the entire National Assembly could come under the control of APC, as most of the senators and members of the House of Representatives rejected by the PDP would defect.
Sources confirmed that the development was being oiled by the APC, which is offering blanket tickets to the lawmakers.
It was confirmed that leaders of the APC had reached out to PDP senators and members of the House of Representatives, asking them to pick the forms for free and also get their elections bankrolled by the party.
Aggrieved senators also said on Tuesday that they may pay a solidarity visit to the defected Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal.
Senators also said on Tuesday that they could not rule out floating an impeachment proceeding against President Jonathan, if the leadership of the National Assembly comes under the control of APC.
He said the National Assembly, especially the senators, had a number of issues that could be classified as impeachable offences.
•Adapted from a Nigerian Tribune report. Photo shows PDP National Chairman Adamu Mu’azu.
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