—-Says national interest more paramount than party interest
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja
There were indications on Friday that the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the national assembly may have dropped the threat to impeach the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki to ensure that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was not truncated.
Recall that the national leadership of the APC had before the resumption of the national assembly from the annual vacation threatened that the Senate President should be impeached having dumped the ruling party for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
There was the fear that there would be crisis in the senate over the alleged plot to unseat Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu even as the PDP had also vowed to resist any change of leadership.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the Friday juma’at prayer at the State House Mosque, Abuja, the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, said the Senators had for now decided to place premium on the national interest instead of individual or party interest.
Lawan had prior to the reconvening of the National Assembly on Tuesday, declared at the APC Convention at the Eagle Square, Saturday night that APC will not allow leadership of the National Assembly run away with its mandate.
But speaking on the alleged impending crisis Lawan said “I don’t know what informed your view to anticipate crisis but let me tell you that NASS will continue to remain focused on national issues, we must be patriotic, nationalistic, we must put national interest above individual, parochial or partisan interest.
“We definitely have to bury our hatchets for us to work for Nigeria and Nigerians perhaps that might have informed the disappointment of many people that there will be crisis in the National Assembly.
“Let me also say that disagreements are usual, in fact they are very practical components of any parliament, when you have 2 to 3 parties or even within parties you will have views that may differ.
“It is traditional, it is usual for us to disagree maybe this disagreements may crop up and some other issues but for now our focus is on national interest.” he said
Asked if the idea of impeachment has been dropped, he said “The National Assembly is a Nigerian parliament and therefore the best thing to do is to ensure that Nigerians gets a good deal and for now the good deal is for Nigeria to have all those pending request of Mr President approved by the National Assembly.
“I think the national interest for now override any other interest.”
Speaking further on the resumption day, he said “Well you could see from day one, Tuesday was not an eventful day because the National Assembly lost a member, a member from Kwara. So traditionally, we normally don’t work on such a day when the death will be officially announced.
“But Wednesday and Thursday witnessed the focus and concentration of members of the National Assembly on the request of Mr President for the funding of INEC for elections to be conducted in 2019 and we passed in the Senate and the House did also.
“We passed the request of Mr President for N189 billion for INEC activities for 2019.On Thursday the committee on appropriation invited the head of the security agencies to come and defend the request that Mr President made on their behalf for funding of their supervisory and oversight roles during the elections in 2019.
“We also had the referral of the request of Mr President approval for foreign loan component of the 2018 appropriation and that is about 2.78 billion dollars eurobond. We have gone full blast consciously, purposely to ensure that Mr President gets what’s he request, we lost time because some of the issues were requested for before we went on our recess.
“But we have also in the Senate passed confirmations of the CBN deputy governor, ICPC governing body and we are determined to continue to do this throughout this period.
“Our intention is to ensure that Mr President doesn’t lack from inactivity of the NASS that whatever he requests, the fundamentals aspects especially will be attended to, this is our determination both as APC senators infact as senate and National Assembly.”