Ministers: Why Buhari shutout Ekweremadu, embraced Akpabio

By Amako Nneji October 8, 2015 14:28

Ministers: Why Buhari shutout Ekweremadu, embraced Akpabio

President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday night, shut out Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu from participating in a closed door meeting held at the Conference Hall of the First’s Lady Office in the Presidential Villa.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, led other principal officers of the National Assembly to meet with Buhari.

It was not clear what the agenda of the meeting was, but it was not unconnected with the ministerial lists submitted to the Senate for screening and confirmation by the upper legislative chamber.

Ekweremadu, who was elected on June 9, is of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which has 49 senators while the All Progressives Congress, APC, has a slim majority with 60 senators, was the only principal officer left out of the meeting.

The Minority Leader of the Senate and the Senate Minority Whip, Godswill Akpabio and Philip Tanimu Aduda of the PDP were in attendance.

It would be recalled that Ekweremadu caused an upset when he led all PDP senators to team up with eight APC senators on inauguration day to elect Saraki Senate President against Ahmed Lawal who was nominated by the ruling party to occupy the seat.

For his effort in the installation of Saraki, Ekweremadu was elected deputy senate president, a position he had previously occupied for eight years when his party had the majority.

Nearly the same scenario played out in the House of Representatives where PDP helped Dogara defeat his party’s chosen candidate for the post, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The National Publicity Secretary of the APC had on June 10 queried that how can Buhari hold a meeting Ekweremadu in a situation where the Senate President is absent, since the President and Ike Ekweremadu are not from the same party.

He had stated that the PDP which was supposed to play a credible opposition in the 8th Assembly has hijacked the assembly, stressing that the PDP’s lawmaker was poised to be a clog in the wheel of progress, to the desired change Nigerians yearn for, through the APC.

See: NASS Leadership: PDP has desecrated our promised “change” – Lai Mohammed mourns

Records indicate that the ruling APC are still miffed that Ekweremadu emerged as the deputy Senate President and had vowed never to allow “a senator from a minority party take over the duties statutorily assigned for the majority party.”

Earlier, a source close to the presidency explained that Ekweremadu as deputy senate president would hamper Buhari’s administration.

    “As deputy senate president, Ekweremadu is automatically the Chairman, Senate Committee on Constitution Amendment. This is a sensitive position that, statutorily, should not be held by the minority.

    “Ekweremadu and his PDP co-travellers will hamper the policies of the Buhari government. By the virtue of Senate rules, a member of the minority is not supposed to be the deputy senate leader; so, he is occupying the post illegally.

Sensing the danger in allowing the PDP holds such a sensitive position, some APC senators demanded for the immediate resignation of Ekweremadu.

But the PDP swiftly responded and rebuffed the APC senators, insisting that Ekweremadu’s emergence is constitutional and cannot be reversed.

According to the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisah Metuh : “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.’’

Accompanying Saraki were Senate Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, his deputy, Bala Ibn Na’Allah.

Accompanying Dogara were his deputy, Yusuf Suleiman Lasun and House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila.

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