Nineteen months after the inauguration of the Eight Senate, which saw Senator Ike Ekweremadu, a member of the opposition emerge as the Deputy President of the Senate, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), appears not to have come to terms with the reality that a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), could occupy the number two position in the Red Chamber.
Only last Tuesday, shortly after the removal of the former Senate leader, Senator Ali Ndume, Senator Kabiru Marafa, from Zamfara State, admonished Senator Ike Ekweremadu, to defect to the APC, to retain his position as the Deputy President of the Senate.
But sources close to Ekweremadu told Sunday Sun that the call was a mere “wishful thinking” of the person who made the call, and a few other APC chieftains, insisting that there was no way Ekweremadu could join the APC.
This is even as Ekweremadu’s Media Adviser, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, declared that his boss remains a “bona-fide and committed member of the PDP.”
Explaining why Ekweremadu won’t cross over to the APC, sources close to the Senate revealed that several public office holders had defected from the PDP to the APC, during its formative stage, shortly before the 2015 elections, and they all retained their offices.
The defection without relinquishing their offices was also hailed by the APC leadership and chieftains, including President Muhammadu Buhari,the sources, said.
The sources, went ahead to add that even in this current dispensation, the APC had produced either the Speaker or Deputy Speaker in some states’ Houses of Assembly where the party was not in the majority, insisting that “even in the Senate, what the party has, is just a slight majority.”
“The call for Ekweremadu to join the APC, for the purpose of retaining his seat, has continued to expose the hypocrisy of some APC stalwarts. Recall that when Tambuwal defected from the PDP to the APC, all the notable leaders of the party, including the President, who was then a candidate, hailed the move.
“The current Information Minister, who was the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, at the time, stated without mincing words that there was nowhere in the constitution where it was stated that the Speaker (of the House of Representatives) must be produced by the majority party; that was the argument then. The current Majority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila also said so. Is that not so?
“Are we operating a different constitution today? And Section 50 of the 1999 Constitution is very clear that the senators shall elect the Senate President and the Deputy Senate President from amongst themselves. And if you recall again, that under the first tenure of Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, the ruling APC, known then as ACN, produced the Speaker of the House of Assembly while an opposition party, the Accord Party, produced the Deputy Speaker. Where you don’t have a clear majority, there has to be some alliances to make the legislative work go smoothly. These things happened in the states, I don’t know why they are so fixated on Ekweremadu’s case. I hope it is not because of where he hails from.”
Mr. Anichukwu, on his part said: “The country is in a tight corner. As the Deputy President of the Senate has always canvassed, with election or politics over since the first quarter of 2015, what the country needs now is leadership or governance to cater for the welfare and security if Nigerians. Nigerians don’t really care who is in what party now. What they care about, and even very desperately so, is their well-being and food on the table, be it square, oblong or perpendicular. That should be the preoccupation of every political leader now.”
- Source – The Sun