The Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, on Tuesday warned that it would portend grave danger for the All Progressives Congress to forcefully remove the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, from office.
Mr. Ekweremadu is a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.
Ekweremadu emerged deputy senate president in an APC-dominated senate as a result of high-wired political horse-trading between the PDP and some APC senators, who rejected the governing party leadership’s nominees for the positions of senate president and deputy.
Since his emergence, the leadership of the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari have not hidden their displeasure of having a PDP lawmaker occupying a top office in the current dispensation.
Speaking with editors of PREMIUM TIMES in Abuja yesterday, Mr. Sani, who was elected on the platform of the APC and has been one of those advocating an amicable resolution to the intractable crisis in the red chamber, said his party is to blame for the emergence of Mr. Ekweremadu as the number two man in the Senate.
He warned that removing Mr. Ekeremadu would be bad for the party since the APC does not enjoy absolute majority in the Senate, unlike in the House of Representatives.
“Yes, the party has gotten itself into a deep hole. It’s like an arrow that got deep into a skin. You don’t pull it off by force. It was easier for members of the House of Representatives to address their problem than the Senate for two reasons.
“One, APC does not have an overwhelming majority in the Senate. The difference we have is about eight Senators, or to a certain level seven, because there are some other persons in court. But, in the House of Representatives, there is an overwhelming majority of APC members.
“Two, Ekweremadu is now the Deputy Senate President. It is easier to play safe than to try to remove him. The dilemma the party is in now is that the PDP Senators see Ekweremadu as their own representative in the principal officers’ cadre, and because he is there, they do not oppose any motion, bill or anything coming from the Presidency”, he said.
Sen. Sani said although he would be happy to see the ouster of Mr. Ekweremadu, he realised the APC would have to contend with a very potent and angry opposition in the Senate.
“In the event that we are in need of two-thirds of members to resolve certain issues, we are definitely going to have a problem”, he said.
The senator also pointed out that the emergence of Mr. Ekweremadu has now taken an ethnic colouration.
“He is being seen as a representative of a section of the country, South East, in the power equation of Nigeria. If he is ejected, there is no way the people in that region would not be provoked to stand up against this administration.
“So, those who voted for Ekweremadu to be deputy to the Senate President got the party into a difficult situation”, he said.
Mr. Sani suggested that the only way the APC can find a way out is for senators elected on the party’s platform to work together to ensure the success of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
“There are a good number of APC Senators that are aggrieved with its leadership. With that division, if one decides now to antagonise the PDP members in the Senate, one can imagine the chaos that is likely to break out there”, he said.
He also lauded the decision of Mr. Buhari to remain neutral and stay out of the leadership crisis at the national Asssembly.
“The president’s philosophy is that he is for everybody, and for nobody. Clearly, that is the best the president can do in the circumstance.
“He cannot do otherwise than to seek to work with the National Assembly if he is to succeed in the execution of his programmes, rather than to be bogged down by the problems in the National Assembly.
“If the PDP, as the opposition, made a clear statement that they were prepared to see to the success of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, it would be a victory.
“Nobody in the PDP can dare challenge good programmes that would be of benefit to the socio-economic and political dynamics in Nigeria”, Mr. Sani said.
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