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Saraki, Dogara: We’re not desperate for power

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Saraki, Dogara: We’re not desperate for power

President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, yesterday, said that the presiding officers of the National Assembly were not desperate for power at all cost.

This was as they maintained that there is a government within the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, desperately attempting to derail the course of democracy in Nigeria.

Saraki and Dogara made these assertions at a joint world press conference they addressed at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, over the siege laid to the nation’s apex legislative complex by the operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) on Tuesday.

 

While reading the statement jointly signed by the two presiding officers of the National Assembly, Saraki also said that any time two-thirds majority of either or all of the chambers passed no confidence vote in them, they would willingly bow out of office, stressing that they were ready to respect the rule of law.

“Let me reiterate that neither myself, deputy Senate president nor speaker belong to the class of politicians that are desperate to stay in power by all means and at all costs.

“The day two-thirds of our members feel they do not have confidence in our leadership, we will gracefully bow out. I repeat again and again, this is not about us, but about respecting the constitution and the rule of law.”

On the claim that there is a government within this government, Saraki said that he had stated this about two years ago that this “illegal government,” had been in existence for a purpose inimical to the interest of the people, stating that this had been manifesting on daily basis in recent times.

 

He wondered how the head of a security agency could have authorised the brazen assault on the legislature as witnessed on Tuesday at the National Assembly, lamenting that the DSS and the Police had been used as tools to unleash terror on the parliament.

“However, some of you may recall that about two years ago, I stated that there was a government within this government, to a purpose that was not in the interest of what the people voted for. I said it then and now, almost on a daily basis, we are seeing the manifestations of that government within a government.

“It beats one’s imagination how the head of a security agency could have authorised the brazen assault on the legislature that we saw yesterday. Only recently, we saw in Benue how eight members of the 30-member of state House of Assembly, with the collaboration of security forces, DSS and police, tried to impeach the governor. Despite the threat to our lives, we shall continue to fight impunity and injustice in this country,” they said.

 

Saraki and Dogara also called for investigation into the siege to the National Assembly on Tuesday by security operatives, saying that the sacking of the Director-General of DSS, Lawal Daura, by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, did not address certain critical questions.

The duo argued that, to forestall a recurrence, an investigation should be carried out and perpetrators brought to book.

They said: “We thank the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for his handling of the situation we were all confronted with on Tuesday. His decisive action went a long way towards restoring confidence and the image of our country. It sent a powerful message – that the DSS cannot be recklessly deployed against institutions of our democracy.

 

“The path of leadership is not by party and we must commend it wherever it is found. Mr. Acting President did the right thing. However, the damage control so far does not address the question of how this invasion was allowed to happen in the first place.

“This is an incident concerning which we have it on good authority that it has been in the planning for months. How is it that such an atrocity was not prevented? How is it that the masterminds were not deterred? Very serious questions remain that can only be answered by a full investigation.

“We call for an investigation and we demand that all perpetrators are brought to book. We owe it to ourselves to ensure that such a situation never occur again. Many agencies have abused their powers and acted outside the ambit of the law on several occasions. Where abuses occur, similar actions must be taken immediately and full investigation instituted.

They noted that the siege by the security operatives, which lasted for hours, allegedly in an attempt to impeach the leadership of the Senate, was an act of cowardice on the part of the sponsors of the illegal venture, regretting that the action had brought the nation to shame and disrepute in the eye of the international community.

 

“The standoff was a show of shame that played itself out over several hours in full view of the country. In no circumstances should this have happened.

“As a nation, we reaped the bitter fruits instantaneously as evident in media images relayed around the world, images that brought us shame as a democratic nation.

“The siege was also an act of cowardice by those seeking to carry out an illegal impeachment of the leadership of the Senate in flagrant disregard of the law. People who seek control at all costs, by whatever means, never minding the injury to democratic norms.”

 

Saraki personally declared that he would not resign as president of the Senate because he was not elected on the basis of his party, but as a collective decision of his colleagues, arguing that it was the same senators who elected him that have the power to remove him.

On the aborted meeting of the National Assembly leadership with the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), he said it was unfortunate.

“Yesterday’s shutdown prevented us from meeting with INEC, as scheduled, to address funding concerns. We will continue to look into the matter. In the spirit of that, we appeal to Mr. President to sign the 2018 Electoral Act Amendment Bill. which has been sent for his assent.

 

“I remain confident in the support of my colleagues and their focus on the job at hand, which is to serve the Nigerian people. My confidence is unshaken,” he said.

 

NewTelegraph 

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