Lawan Moves To Win PDP Senators,
FG Fingered In Imbroglio
By Petert OSSAI, Abuja The post National Assembly (NASS) inauguration politicking and scheming have again been re-enkindled, at the upper legislative chamber, the senate, thereby renewing old rivalries that almost marred the smooth take off of legislative business of the eight assembly. Following indications that senate President, Bukola Saraki’s days may be numbered on the seat, Senators are said to have retreated into
old camps that battled for the leadership of the red chamber, as they scheme to produce the next president of the senate, should Saraki go.
The opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is reported to be maneuvering to upstage the ruling All Progressives congress, APC, just as the APC is seriously plotting to revalidate its earlier position in throwing up Senator Ahmed Lawan from Yobe State, as the prospective Senate President.
The eventual commencement of trial of President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, by the Code of Conduct Bureau(CCT), where he is been accused of not properly declaring his assets, when he served as Governor of Kwara State, seems to set the stage for the new battle.
According to information at the disposal of nationalTRAIL, Senator Lawan, who at the inception of the All Progressives Congress(APC) led Federal Government was the preferred choice of the party for the position of President of the Senate, already is said to be doing everything possible to win the PDP senators over, so that he can clinch the plum position at the red chamber.
Although Senators are divided over whether Saraki should be forced to either resign , even before he is handed conviction by the CCT that has remained resolute in going ahead with his trial, the stage seems set for another round of battle over the leadership of the senate.
nationalTRAIL could not confirm but, learnt that the senator from Yobe is alleged to enjoying the backing of the Presidency, and has a deep pocket with which he is using to win over as many PDP senators as possible so as to secure their support when the time eventually comes, which as far as his group is concerned, is only a matter of time.
One source alleged that the government at the Federal level may have been supporting senator Lawan with huge fund with which to secure the support and endorsement of his colleagues in the senate, especially from the opposition camp, for the number three position in the land.
This is even as the Senate President, Bukola Saraki has claimed to have uncovered plots by some politicians to sponsor protest marches and demonstrations in which some hired people will be given placards to disturb public peace, as part of the scheming to getting him out of office.
Saraki’s media office raised the alarm in a statement by his Special Adviser ( Media and Publicity), saying that sponsors of the proposed protest marches are seeking to forcefully mobilise and pollute public opinion against the Senate President.
“As part of their plan, they are already distributing money and other materials to some faceless civil society Organisations, market men and women associations and other shadowy groups with a view to instigate demonstrations in Lagos, Abuja and Ilorin starting from Monday, April 11.
“They believe that the on-going trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal provides them the opportunity to stampede Dr. Saraki out of office so that their defeated objective of getting their lackey into the office of Senate President will be realised. This is another desperate move by these spineless politicians to achieve through the back door what they failed to realise on the floor of the Senate.
“We are alerting members of the public to the antics of these desperate politicians which may result into breach of public peace, order and health. Dr. Saraki is a peace-loving and law abiding politician. The trial at the CCT is just beginning and while the prosecution’s witness has started giving evidence, he is yet to be cross-examined by the defence team. The defence has also not opened its own case. We urge members of the public to patiently wait for the conclusion of the case.
“Since the fundamental principle of our legal system is that an accused person is presumed innocent until he is found guilty, Dr. Saraki will not allow any distraction to take him away from his responsibility as President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly,” Olaniyonu added.
It could be recalled that at beginning of CCT saga, Senator Saraki had said his trial was nothing but political, insisting that he was docked at the CCT because he was President of the Nigerian Senate, otherwise he wouldn’t have been brought to the tribunal.
However, our correspondent learnt that the PDP senators appear not to be playing ball, insisting on producing the next president for the senate, should Saraki vacate the position either through resignation or convicted by the CCT.
It could also be recalled that at the inception of the current legislative term, both Saraki and Speaker Dogara, were not candidates of the ruling APC, but with support from PDP caucuses in both chambers, Saraki emerged as senate president, with Ike Ekeweremadu of the PDP from Enugu as his deputy, while Dogara from Bauchi snatched the speakership position ahead of the preferred Femi Gbajabiamila.
After which Senator Saraki went ahead to fill the remaining leadership positions against the zoning arrangement of his party, since then, the relationship between him and his party appear to have been everything, except cordial.
Which is why many believe the reason for the Kwara State born politician’s ordeal with the CCT is essentially aimed at getting him out at all cost for going against the wishes of his party, the APC.
The APC had zoned the position of Senate president to the North east, with Lawan favoured to clinch the position, with senator George Akume from North central as his deputy, just as the position of speaker of the House of representatives was reserved for the South west, and the house leader, Femi Gbajabiamila emerging as the candidate of choice.
The APC was however unable to get its way through its zoning arrangement, which saw the emergency of Saraki from north central and Dogara from North east geo-political zone