The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, yesterday, said he has offered himself for the defence of democratic principles in country.
Saraki, who announced his defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday stated this at the 81st National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the party’s National Secretariat, Wadata Plaza, Abuja.
He expressed appreciation to the leadership of the opposition party for receiving him and other returnee members of the party back.
Apart from Saraki, other defectors who attended the emergency NEC meeting were Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal; Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom; former Kano State governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, Senator Barnabas Gemade among others.
Saraki noted that the defectors have decided to make sacrifices for the good of Nigerians. However, he said the sacrifices would only be complete when the country becomes better for the people.
“This sacrifice that we are all making is just the first part because we are doing this for Nigerians and that exercise will not be complete until we make a better country for our people.
“It is only when we reach that Promised Land that this sacrifice we are making comes good, when we see a better tomorrow for our people, because it is easier here in Abuja. But when we get back to out constituencies, please, let us continue to open our arms and receive the numbers that will give us victory come February 2019 because it is for a better tomorrow for the lot of Nigerian people.
“I offer myself to ensure I continue to play my part, to continue to ensure that we defend our democratic principles in this country, we provide security and good leadership and good governance for everybody.
But that is only possible if we are all united because not any one man or two or three can do it alone.”
On his part, Governor Tambuwal warned that any attempt to impeach Saraki as senate president without recourse to due process will be resisted forcefully.
There have been tension in the National Assembly over alleged plot by APC senators to impeach Saraki, following his defection, with the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole calling on the senate president to resign his position.
However, Tambuwal, who announced his defection to the PDP on Wednesday, said no one could oust Saraki as long as he enjoyed the confidence of his colleagues.
The Sokoto State governor noted that when he and other members of the opposition party defected to the APC in 2014, the party did not complain, and wondered why they were complaining now.
“When I hear that some people were trying to break into the chambers of the Senate to steal the Mace and install a pseudo senate president, I wondered whether they actually know the rules of our democratic engagement. It is not a gestapo, we are in a democracy and the constitution of this country is very clear that members of the Senate and House of Representatives can chose from among themselves their own president of the senate and Speaker of the House.
“It is a conference of members of the two chambers and if the members have confidence of the Senate President, they are free to retain him and so be it with the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara. Nobody should be afraid and we must respect due process and rule of law if we are in a democracy. Nigeria is not a Banana republic and we will not take it from anybody. If you try it we will march out our own forces in the country and jam you. We cannot afford to allow anybody, no matter how highly placed, to toy with the fate of more than 200 million Nigerian,” Tambuwal stated.
Reacting, Ortom expressed joy over his return to the PDP, which he left prior to the 2015 general election. The Benue State governor stated that his sojourn to the APC impov- erished him.
“I am happy to be home. For obvious reasons I have to take a journey. But in that journey I had too many travails. I become more poor and all I took along with me were destroyed.”
In his welcome address, the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus lauded them for their courage to dump the APC, stating that history would be kind to them.
“The bold steps you took to return to the party where you truly belong is a sacrifice, not for yourself, but for Nigeria and history will be fair to you. Today is the beginning of the great journey to freedom, the great journey to free our people and rescue this country from the damage done to it by the APC in the last three years,”the PDP chairman stated.
Meanwhile, Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Sani Bello, has revealed the efforts he made to prevail on Governor Tambuwal from defecting.
He said he personally traveled to Sokoto to talk to his colleague, just as he dissociated himself from speculations linking him with defection from the APC.
Speaking through his political associate and adviser on strategy, Ray Murphy, the governor insisted that there was no iota of truth in the story, stressing that he is pleased with the ruling party.
Some social media network had linked the Niger State governor as one of the governors defecting from the APC to the opposition party.
“As a member of the APC, the governor is satisfied and his people are satisfied and he is concerned with the progress of the APC in Niger State.
“He has received cooperation from the people of Niger State, the party at the national level and from Mr. President and he has no reason whatsoever to leave the party.”