By Yemi Adebowale
A faction of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at the Senate has alleged that the leadership of the 7th Senate, where Senator David Mark and Ekweremadu served as President and Deputy President of the Senate, illegally altered the Senate Rule to allow the PDP, which is now the minority party in the 8th Senate, occupy the Deputy Senate position.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Solomon Arase, has invited Senator Ike Ekweremadu (PDP, Enugu), the Deputy President of the Senate, to force headquarters Abuja for questioning, over allegations of forgery of the Senate Rules.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, made the development public to journalists in Abuja during a briefing. He said Ekweremadu would honour the invitation on Monday.
Metuh, who describe the allegation as “bogus”, accused the APC of moving forcefully to oust Ekweremadu as Deputy Speaker.
”We wish to alert all Nigerians and the international community that there is indeed a clear and present danger of threat to the lives of key opposition leaders in Nigeria. In the last few weeks, key PDP members have become an endangered group for playing their opposition role in providing constructive criticisms to the ruling party in their apparent lack of capacity to get organised and form a government; their interference in the activities of the national assembly and the demand for the implementation of their campaign promises to Nigerians.
”As we address you today, some key leaders of our party have been under threat since the emergence of the leadership of the national assembly, which did not go the way of the leadership of the APC, particularly the election of PDP’s Senator Ike Ekweremadu as deputy senate president. The leadership of the PDP has been made aware of various threats to life and other forms of intimidation and blackmail against Senator Ekweremadu from the APC. As you may know, the APC leaders have not hidden their bitterness and resentment towards Senator Ekweremadu, whose offence is the privilege of being elected by his colleagues (APC and PDP senators alike) as deputy senate president in line with the standing rules of the senate and the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
”Since President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that Senator Ekweremadu’s election was ‘unacceptable’ to his party, the deputy senate president, who can only be removed by the senate, has come under threats and intense pressure from APC leaders to resign and allow a senator from the ruling party to take his position.
”However, having failed to get him to resign, the APC has now engaged in heinous plots to force him out of office, a design, which totally negates the independence of the legislature and the spirit and letters of the constitution of Nigeria. Apparently to ensure that the agenda is given an official stamp, the inspector-general of police, acting on instructions, has invited the deputy senate president with a view to arresting him over phantom charges as a buildup to incarcerate him, create a vacuum in the senate and pave way for the imposition of the APC-preferred senator to take over his position.
”Also, apart from plans to use security apparatus against the deputy senate president, we have information that there are instructions to certain officials at the now National Electoral Commission to alter some electoral documents and records in order to create the impression that Senator Ekweremadu did not file proper documents for the general elections to eventually pave way for his removal”, Metuh said.