Senate President Bukola Saraki is coming under continous pressure to reconvene the National Assembly in order to consider President Muhammadu Buhari’s request on the budget for the conduct of 2019 general election, among others.
But lawmakers who are loyal to Saraki are interpreting the move as a plot to ease him out as Senate President following his defection from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The National Assembly had on July 24 embarked on its annual recess which is scheduled to last till September 25.
President Buhari had in a letter dated July 11 requested the approval of the lawmakers for N242bn for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to commence the preparations for 2019 general elections. The fund, according to the letter read by Bukola on July 17, should be provided through supplementary or virement.
Leading the call, the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, urged his colleagues to reconvene in order to consider the president’s request on INEC budget, saying there was urgent need for the lawmakers to do so.
Also, speaking last night, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Abdullahi Adamu, said the senators should not have adjourned without considering the president’s request on the election fund.
“Nobody will deny the fact that we have a serious job to do. The president presented the supplementary budget for the forthcoming elections but the leadership deliberately left the request. Something of national interest, they deliberately don’t want to take it because they want to sabotage the government. They brought our recess forward by two days to achieve their plot. Definitely, there is need for us to reconvene to attend to the request. No doubt about that,” he said in a phone interview last night.”
Also, a ranking senator told reporters that no matter what Senate President Bukola Saraki tried to do, the Red Chamber must be reconvened and that the Senate President cannot escape removal.
“Not only election fund, there’s the issue of the confirmation of the ICPC nominees, which is key to the fight against corruption of this administration.”
“We also have the confirmation of nominees for FERMA and the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, National Judicial Commission (NJC), all these are still pending. We’re supposed to consider them, and between now and September 25 is a long time.”
“Like that of INEC, it’s very critical because they have to procure some equipment, sensitive and nonsensitive materials ahead of the elections. All these are matters of urgent national importance, unless he’s bent on sabotaging the democracy. If he doesn’t reconvene, we know the action we’ll take.”
“They’re talking about constitutional requirement for the impeachment of the Senate President, but we don’t really need that. What we’re going to do is not impeachment but removal. The two are not the same. In the case of impeachment, we need to tell him his offences, but in this case we say we just don’t want him.”
However, a lawmaker, who recently dumped the APC, said the National Assembly did not do anything wrong by going on recess, adding that those calling for it to reconvene have sinister motive.
“It is clear that what they want is leadership change. It is more than just reconvening to consider the election fund. Whatever their plan, we are ready for them,” he said.