Diverse reactions trailed the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki (APC), Senator Ike Ekweremadu (PDP) and Hon. Yakubu Dogara (APC) as Senate President, Deputy Senate President and House of Representatives Speaker respectively. Some of the reactions:
Emergence legal – NBA President
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN), said the election of Senator Bukola Saraki as the President of the Senate is legitimate
“Inaugurating the National Assembly is considered as an ordinary business and, for an ordinary business, the requirement of a quorum is one-third. So, legally, there was a quorum. You can argue from a moral perspective but legally, it is in order,” Alegeh stated.
“There is a need to have respect for institutions. If the Senate was having an inauguration, other people should respect that fact and schedule meetings appropriately. The day for the inauguration of the House is a very important day in a democracy.”
It is fraudulent – Itse Sagay
Law professor Itse Sagay believes the election of Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy Ike Ekweremadu smacks of legislative impunity.
“If you look at the moral point of view, that purported election was fraudulent. When you purport to hold an election deliberately in the absence of your opponent, knowing that he is absent, and intending to win at any cost unopposed by ensuring that absence, that constitutes fraud. Not only that, I think it’s an act of gross indiscipline, not just against his party, but against the whole country because we are all stakeholders in the electoral process, in who becomes the Senate President and we all felt cheated because there was no proper election”, he said.
It is betrayal, indiscipline, treacherous- APC
The All Progressives Congress, APC, described as totally unacceptable and the “highest level of indiscipline and treachery” the emergence of Saraki and Mr. Yakubu Dogara as Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively.
“Senator Bukola and Hon. Dogara are not the candidates of the APC and a majority of its National Assembly members-elect for the positions of Senate President and House Speaker. The party duly met and conducted a straw poll and clear candidates emerged for the posts of Senate President, Deputy Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, supported by a majority of all Senators-elect and members-elect of the House of Representatives. All National Assembly members-elect who emerged on the platform of the party are bound by that decision. There can be no higher level of treachery, disloyalty and insincerity within any party
“The party is supreme and its interest is superior to that of its individual members,” the party said in a statement issued in Abuja Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed.
APC naive, unprepared for governance, says PDP
The PDP rejected threats by the APC on the new Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The party, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said the claims of the APC were indicative of a party aiming to cover its naivety, inexperience and unpreparedness for governance.
APC North-Central backs Saraki
The APC, North-Central, congratulated Saraki.
In a statement signed by state chairmen of Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau, and Niger, the party described Saraki’s election as victory for democracy.
Lagos APC wants Saraki, Dogara sanctioned
A statement released by Lagos APC’s Publicity Secretary, Mr. Joe Igboke, said: “The purported election of Senator Saraki and Dogara as the Senate President and Speaker respectively, is a clear transgression of both the tenets of democracy and party politics.
“The APC must come down strongly to mete out sanctions and punishments against treacherous members that perpetrated this ugly charade. “We see the clear road to enforce discipline in the treacherous conduct of some members of the National Assembly.
“It is certain that these betrayers are not members of the APC and we feel the Party must weigh in now and discipline these betrayers.”
….Kwara APC attacks Lagos APC
The Kwara State chapter of the APC berated its Lagos State counterpart for demanding that Bukola Saraki be sanctioned for anti-party activities.
The Kwara APC Publicity Secretary, Sulyman Buhari, on Wednesday, described Lagos APC’s comment as uninformed, insisting that Saraki and Dogara did not breach the party’s constitution.
Unity Forum kicks, threatens legal action
A group of APC senators, led by Senator Barnabas Gemade under the aegis of the Senate Unity Forum, faulted the process that produced Saraki, saying his election lacked legitimacy. They were the main backers of Senator Ahmed Lawan, the man backed by the APC leadership for Senate President.
Gemade, who spoke for the Forum, noted that the insinuation that members of the group boycotted the election was unfounded.
His words: “The Clerk of the National Assembly, knowing fully well that the quorum for election of the Senate President had not been met, went ahead to conduct an election that shuts the door to about 53 other senators which would remain unacceptable until what would meet would meet democratic parameter is done. This process, which remains unconstitutional, cannot confer legitimacy on the elected Senate President. Our right to participate in the election of the Senate President is a constitutional right which cannot be taken by any person or group of persons.
“The insinuation in some quarters that we boycotted the election is totally unfounded. As loyal party members, we would take all necessary political and legal means to strengthen our democracy and democratic process in line with the change that we promised our teaming supporters during our electioneering”.
… Like Minds Senators disagree
The Like Minds Senators, a pro-Saraki group, insisted that the Senate President emerged through due process and should be embraced by all senators irrespective of political leaning.
“The President, in his constitutional duty, sent a proclamation letter to the National Assembly.
“In that proclamation letter, he stated categorically that the proclamation of the 8th Senate will be done at 10 a.m. on June 9, 2015.
“How can Mr President on one hand send a letter of proclamation to the National Assembly and on the other hand, call for a meeting at the International Conference Centre?
“If Mr President wants to meet legislators, the Defense House is there, the Villa is there, the banquet Hall is there; why International Conference Centre?
“However, did Mr President eventually attend to anybody at International Conference Centre? Capital No”, Senator Dino Melaye said on behalf of the group.
Gbajabiamila accepts defeat, pledges loyalty
Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, the anointed candidate of the APC who lost to Dogara in the House leadership contest, pledged allegiance to the new Speaker.
“We have just gone through an election in the House, so we came to meet with the party regarding the election and how the party is going to remain strong and united and move forward so that we can deliver the deliverables and programmes of the party through the House.
“Go to court for what? I don’t know about the Senate. I can only speak for the House. Nothing happened in the House. We had an election. It is different from the Senate. In the Senate, people were deprived of their fundamental rights to express themselves and vote.
“We will work with the leadership of the House and the Speaker, so long as the party’s programmes are properly articulated and pursued on the floor of the House. We will work with the leader of the House. He is an APC member. He is not the Speaker of the APC. He is the speaker of the whole House,” he said when he led about 20 supporters of his aspiration to the national secretariat of the APC in Abuja
APC will recognise Saraki — Oyegun
APC, on Friday, said it had recorgnised that the election of Saraki as Senate President was legitimate.
The National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, gave the indication while fielding questions from State House correspondents in Abuja.
Odigie-Oyegun said that the election was one of the challenges the party had to face but added that it would wriggle out of it and the party had accepted him as the Senate President.
“Of course, he has been duly elected by his colleagues. End of Story. We have a reality, and we must live with it.”