The bitter-sour relationship between the Senate and President Goodluck Jonathan appears to have taken a turn for the worse as the Senate yesterday accused the president of protecting the Chairman, Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina for alleged mismanagement of over N195 billion pension funds.
Tempers rose high yesterday on the floor of the Senate as Lawmakers took turn to query the continued refusal of Maina to appear before the Senator Aloysius Etok, led Senate Joint Committee on Public Service and Establishment and State and Local Government Administration .
The Senators, warning the President of the consequences of not heeding to their resolution for the arrest, investigation and prosecution of the embattled Maina, said the protracted saga will be a test case between the Executive and the Legislature, even as it vowed that it will not fail to react appropriately.
Speaking on the motion titled “Dismissal of Mr Abdulrasheed Maina for Refusal to Appear Before the Senate” by Senate Leader Victor Ndoma- Egba, PDP, Cross River Central and 107 senators, Senate President David Mark warned that the Senate has teeth to bite and was prepared to bite when the occasion arises.
“We have been pushed to the wall. Nobody in this country will be left to go scot-free if he is associated with Maina. It doesn’t matter who is behind Maina, it is not for me to know whether somebody is behind Maina or not, but no matter who is behind Maina, we are not going to accept it.
“The Senate has given him ample time, Maina is just an individual who perhaps said more than he can manage and he has therefore crucified himself. That is the bottom line and the executive has to choose between Maina and the Senate. If they choose to go along with Maina, fine, we will react accordingly. There is no running away from it. It is a test case, if Maina remains, then the Senate will react appropriately and I don’t think we are short of ideas nor are we short of what we want to do. We know the step to take.
“Let me emphasise, nobody in this country is bigger than our democracy. I have been extremely patient with Maina, very patient, very understanding so that when we react, Nigerians will appreciate the steps that we have taken. So I don’t think that what we have done is out of place because we gave him enough time and he crucified himself. He is wanted by the police, now, whether the police is serious or not in looking for Maina is the next step we are going to take because Maina cannot be briefing the press somewhere and the police will say they cannot find him” Mark fumed.