National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole said on Friday that the party will work for the impeachment of Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki in accordance with the laws of the land and in accordance with democratic norms across the world and not by thuggery.
Oshiomhole also said that the only thing the Senate President can do to avoid impeachment will be to take the honourable part and resign his position which he occupied by provision of being a member of the majority party in the senate, adding that there is no way a minority party can rule over majority in the senate.
Addressing a news conference at the party headquarters in Abuja, the APC chairman said that since becoming the senate President, Senator Saraki has never done anything with the interest of the nation at heart, adding that every action of the Senate President has been dictated by his personal interest.
Oshiomhole vowed that apart from having Senator Saraki impeached as senate President, the party will work hard to ensure that he does not return to the senate during the 2019 general election, stressing that the people of Kwara State are fed up with his brand of politics which has not impacted positively on them.
He accused Senator Saraki of betraying the party to clinch the senate Presidency by entering into an alliance with the opposition party and offering them the position of the deputy Senate President.
While accusing the Senate President of putting personal interest above national interest, Oshiomhole said that attempt to use the invasion of the National Assembly on Tuesday to portray himself as the conscience of the nation is to insult our collective intelligence as a people.
Oshiomhole said: “We decided to call for this press conference basically to respond to issues raised by the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki during his press conference.
“It is important that we respond to some of the issues he canvassed so that the public is not misled into turning villains into heroes and twisting the facts that are not hidden to the Nigerian public. It is important that we help the Nigerian public by refreshing their memories.
“The senate President raised the issues of the fact that he has always acted not on t basis of his own personal interest, but that he has always acted on the basis of national interest. The truth is that it is doubtful if the senate president has ever acted either in the National, interest or in t interest of his own political party before his defection recently.
“Without going back to ancient history, it is important to look at how Senator Bukola Saraki became the President of the Senate. He decided, clearly, against the party position to enter into a deal with the opposition PDP and got a faction of the PDP, taking advantage of the provisions of the provision while majority of the APC senators were holding a meeting at the International conference Centre to resolve the issue of leadership of the senate and other principal officers that are expected to be produced by the ruling party with majority senators.
“By putting his personal interest over and above the interest of the party, he went into alliance with PDP and conceded the position of the position of deputy senate president to the opposition in other to obtain the support of the opposition for him to become the senate President.
“So, for the first time in our democratic history in Nigeria, we had a situation whereby, whereas the APC had majority of senators, it went on to elect a PDP person as deputy senate President. This action alone portray Senator Saraki for who he is and that his personal interest come before an6 other interest, including the National, interest and that of his politics party.
“Having went into this unholy alliance with the opposition and mortgage the rights of the ruling party, he appointed opposition senators to Head strategic committees whose activities can affect either for good or for bad, the working of government and the relationship between the government and the legislature by grading away those strategic and sensitive positions.
“Senator Saraki did that in other to continue to protect himself against the wishes of his party as senate President. That showed that the only thing that was constant in his mind was to cling on to the position of senate president even if it is at the expense of his own party and the country.
“Even the media has consistently draw attention to how senate Saraki is managing the senate to the extent that questions have been raised as to whose interest the senate was serving.
“You do not have a partisan politician appreciate that in an election year, every democratic government around the world would do everything possible to ensure that it is seen to be working for the people of the country.
“Like any other political party in government, Nigerians expected the APC government under President Buhari to do everything possible this year to make up for lost time in terms of budget implementation and addressing critical infrastructures without which sustainable development is impossible.
“The senate under senator Saraki choose to delay the budget up to the end of the first half of the year and to coincide with the period of the rainy season such that those aspect of infrastructure such as roads cannot be constructed during the rainy season.
“These were not errors of the Head under his leadership, but clearly designed to frustrate the capacity of the government to address critical infrastructural deficit without which the ordinary man cannot feel the impact of governance.
“Again on receipt of the budget, the President cried out that it was a clear distortion from the well thought proposal that he submitted to them. He appreciated that while they can make alteration to the budget, he did not expect that it will be completely rewritten as to make far more provisions for recurrent expenditure with very little for capital projects. He said this budget will be difficult to implement.
“So, when I said he has never put the interest of Nigeria first, I support this statement by reference to the deliberate delay of the budget and deliberate manipulation of the provisions in the budget in a way that will compromise the capacity of the government to address critical infrastructures.
“It is no longer a secret that as senate President, he tried to conspire with others to create a semblance of division within the ruling party having failed to truncate the convention, when they assembled a handful of people who were neither delegates nor contest for any office at the convention to purport to have formed a political party.
“There is nothing for me to add to the illegality of this action and the false foundation that Senator Saraki tried to leave than to adopt the well thought out presentation of Femi Falana.”
He said the actions of the senate President and his utterances did not portray hi. As a man who have the interest of his people at heart, saying “Those things did not portray him as someone who is concerned about sustaining democracy because sustaining democracy also implies absolute commitment to the rule of law.
“If the rule of law is compromised and Nigeria is reduced to banana republic when it will be survival of the fittest, he is probably not the strongest man in town to cling on to that office. So, each time he takes an action that constitute a breach of the constitution, he is, by his own action undermining the foundation and weakening the fabrics of our democracy.
“However, upon his illegal defection, which he had to do hurriedly because the number of senators he was playing on their fears that they will not be able to return to the senate.
He said further that Senator Saraki had planned to reduce the APC to a minority party in the party and compiled a list of 36 senators who were to sign their agreement to defect to the PDP, but was frustrated when some of the senators refused to sign.
“At a point, he has on his list, about 36 Senators who were about to defect. But consequent upon our election, we took preemptive steps to reassure some of those senators.
“The first meeting we held after our election was with Senator SARAKI to try and listen to his grievances and this I did in company of the Vice President and he acknowledged that those steps were taken when he was leaving, to listen to what I called negotiable and verifiable grievances.
“But however, his real grievances are not negotiable which is about ambition, value and his fundamental values and the values of the APC. When he defected, he went to Ilorin to tell the people part of the truth that he was leaving for two reasons.
“He alleged that Buhari gave out over 200 juicy appointments without allocating some to him and he chooses to speak for the Speaker of the House of Representatives that he was also not given. He lamented that he was not given a share of the so called 200 juicy positions.
“My question is, giving SARAKI, the Senate President juicy position; does that coincide with the Nigerian project? Or the interest of the people of Kwara State of his Senatorial zone. At no time did he refer to the interest of the people of his constituency or the people of Nigeria.
“The second reason he gave was that he was being persecuted. That is alleged persecution of his person and not his people. He never pretended that any of these actions had anything, to do with the people of Nigeria, but his person.
“I think the governor of Kwara State was more explicit in collaborating his claim when he said that he as governor and Saraki as senate President were being link to armed robbery cases. Again, that has nothing to do with the Nigerian project or the Kwara people.
“What is the truth? Who linked Senator Saraki to armed robbery? Was it the federal government t or arrested armed robbers? It is the armed robbers that alleged that the weapons with which they carried out the operation were procured for them by senate President. This is contained in the police report which is no longer a secret.
“He has not denied knowledge of these people since some of them were captured in his entourage during his condolence visit. So. If armed robbers linked the name of the senate president, is the APC or the government to blame?
“A crime that led to the killing of about 35 persons cannot be dismissed with a wave of hand and in any jurisdiction, when your name is linked to such heinous crime, people don’t clap for you. It is the duty of the security agents to investigate and establish whether they are valid or invalid.
“So, if he was linked to armed robbery, which cannot be an offense of the government or the APC. The best defense I have heard is that the robbers said that he did not ask them to use the weapon for armed robbery.
“In support of my thesis that Saraki has never acted in the national interest, my final submission is on the way he adjourned the senate. The senate calendar is not a secret to the presiding officer and the calendar that was known was that the senate was going to adjourn on a Thursday.
“But by Monday night, SARAKI used his guest house, wrote out names of senators with provision for them to sign for senators to decamp from the APC to the PDP, but some of the senators refused to sign. That is what frustrated his calculations to turn the APC to a minority party in the senate. Is it a coincidence that as he was reading the names of defectors in the senate, his counter in the House was also doing same.
“So, there was coordination for defection day. But happily, the preemptive measure we have taken to address genuine grievances frustrated their number such that from 36, he could not get more than 14 senators to decamp including one that subsequently overcame the manipulation.
“Between Tuesday and Thursday, the senate was expected to discuss the supplementary budget for INEC. INEC requirement are not things that you buy from the shelf. You have to order them from the manufacturers and so, time is of the essence.
“But the senate under SARAKI adjourned without considering the matters before it including the budget for INEC. So, if SARAKI adjourned the senate ahead of schedule to resume towards the end of nominations, can that act be said to coincide with national interest.
“If you decide to frustrate INEC by denying it the funds that it requires, can you be said to be a defender of democracy? If INEC don’t get their funds and therefore are unable to conduct t credible election, will that not lead to further consequences for our democracy?
“So, I submit that SARAKI, s action were calculated to undermine democracy. Those who fought for democracy y did not do it so that it can be runner at the mercies of a senate president whose interest is clearly at variance with national interest. There was a request for virement which was also not considered.
“A substantial part of the 2018 budget meant for capital project was supposed to be sourced through loan and under the constitution; you cannot borrow from foreign countries without the express endorsement of the national, assembly. Without those loans, the budget cannot be implemented.
“While this was pending, Senator SARAKI put his personal interest above his office and chooses to adjourn the senate, leaving these huge national issues unattended to. So, for an officer that behave like that, how he can argue that anything he did was not about himself.
“Everything he did has never been informed by National interest. There are also allegations of lack of transparency and we have seen Nigerians trying to demystify what they earn. We have an arm that is completely unaccountable because of the way he has presided.
“Therefore, his attempt to use the incident at the National Assembly on Tuesday to portray himself as the conscience of the nation is to insult our collective intelligence as a people.
“There is the futile attempt he has made to suggest that the Tuesday’s incidence was an attempt to carry out an illegal impeachment. How can a presiding office arrive at such a conclusion that there was a plan to carry out an illegal impeachment.
“Until an action takes place, you cannot determine the outcome, if impeachment itself is unlawful, then you can understand where he is coming from. It is lawful to impeach anyone, including the President the Senate and his deputy if the number required to do so is present.
“So, he cannot preempt that. From their own statement, they claimed to be aware that the Senate Preside t was going to be illegally impeached and so mobilized thugs to the senate. They told the world that they have adjourned till 25th September.
“But meanwhile, about 15 PDP Senators were in the Senate and imported things that molested two of our members they signed in the senate. D8s you find any APC senator in the senate? If APC senators were not in the senate and it was PDP Senators that were there, what is the basis of the false claim that there was an attempt to carry out an illegal impeachment.
“In any case, SARAKI is not going to be the first senate president to be impeached and I doubt is he is going to be the last. But definitely, he will be impeached according to law and democratic norms. The only way he can avoid impeachment is for him to do what is honourable.
“We saw Senator Akpabio who was the PDP leader in the senate. Once he made up his mind to leave the PDP, he wrote to inform the PDP even before his defection that he was resigning.
“So, Senator SARAKI has demonstrated neither character nor being a man of honour. I told him when we held a meeting that he came to join the APC as a senator and it is on our platform that you became senate president. Once you made up your mind to leave, the honourable thing to do is to resign as senate president.
“If he does not resign, he will be impeached according to law and not by thuggery or by mob or anything that undemocratic. He cannot sustain a minority rule in the senate and that is what is hunting him in the senate.
“When I say that the senate president will be impeached, let me emphasis that he will be impeached properly according to law. The constitution is clear how a presiding officer can be impeached and because several impeachment has taken place, we are not about to witness what has not taken place before.
“We have enough precedent to fall back on. I have looked at the constitution which does not say that an impeachment is illegal. It is done, you cannot arrive at the conclusion that it is unlawful. How can we be accused of planning an illegal impeachment when it has not commenced.
“If he think that by saying that he will preempt the APC from having him impeached, he is deceiving himself. I think that the time of SARAKI is over, the way he has manipulated the politics of Kwara stat, he failed to understand that the Nigerian project is far mor complicated than being at the mercy of his own dynasty.
“He will not only be impeached, we will work hard to have him defeated as a senator in his own Senatorial zone come 2019 by the people of Kwara stage who are fed up with Saraki. Go and check the results of the elections that made him a senator and you will find out that the President got more votes from Kwara Central that Saraki got for himself.
“So, he can’t claim that the vote the APC got from his Senatorial zone was because of him. They were inspite of him and that is why his leaving is of no political consequences as far as electoral issues are concerned. We tried to talk to him, not out of fear, but out of conviction that as a presiding officer, there are rules of engagement and we don’t him to get so emotional as to affect those rules of engagements.”