The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has raised alarm over plans by the governing All Progressives Congress, APC-led federal government to arrest the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
The PDP said to this effect, the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, has invited Mr. Ekweremadu to report at the Force Headquarters in Abuja on Monday after which he would be detained.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday in Abuja, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, said the APC leadership is not happy with the emergence of Mr. Ekweremadu, a PDP member, as the Deputy Senate President and that after several attempts to force him to relinquish the position, has now resorted to underhand tactics.
Metuh stated that since President Muhammadu Buhari was reported to have described Mr. Ekweremadu’s election as ‘unacceptable’ to his party, the Deputy Senate President, who can only be removed by two-thirds vote of the Senate, has come under threats and intense pressure from APC leaders to resign and allow a senator from the governing party to take his position.
“We are aware that some APC senators opposed to the emerge of Senators Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as Senate President and Deputy Senate President respectively met last week and concocted a petition accusing the Deputy Senate President of altering the Senate Rules on the process of election of the Presiding Officers, upon which the police via a letter dated July 1, 2015 and signed by the Deputy Inspector General in charge of criminal investigation at the Force Headquarters has invited him to appear tomorrow, Monday, July 6, 2015 where he will be detained and put under pressure”, he said .
The opposition party spokesman said apart from the fact that the Nigerian Constitution clearly guarantees the two chambers of the National Assembly the powers to regulate their proceedings without external interferences, the alleged petition by the APC senators, who he said enjoy the sympathy of some APC leaders, lacks merit.
He said Mr. Ekweremadu or any other senator-elect prior to the inauguration of the Senate and the election of presiding officers, could not have been involved in the process of producing the 2015 Standing Rules of the Senate, which was strictly done by the bureaucracy under the Clerk to the National Assembly.
“Senator Ekweremadu was not in any way involved in the process other than being nominated for the position of the Deputy Senate President and could not have been privy to the secret ballot procedure adopted by the National Assembly bureaucracy, which has been widely adjudged as transparent and credible”, he said.
The opposition party added that apart from the plans to use security apparatus against the Deputy Senate President, it has information that there are instructions to certain officials at the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC “to alter some electoral documents and records in order to create the impression that Senator Ekweremadu did not file proper documents for the general elections to eventually pave way for his removal
“In line with the above plot, the APC has been having secret meetings with some judges and lawyers to procure injunctions to prevent Senator Ekweremadu from playing his role as the Deputy Senate President.
“We are also aware that part of the plot is a conspiracy to tarnish Senator Ekweremadu’s image and open him to public ridicule.
“Last Monday, some APC leaders met in Abuja to perfect a plot to blackmail the Deputy Senate President by planting outlandish publications against him in the media”, Mr. Metuh said.
He warned that the Nigerian government and APC leaders should be held responsible should any harm befall the Deputy Senate President or any of its leaders.
He said the notice became necessary because the PDP has information indicating that there are also plans to compromise security around the Deputy Senate President to make him vulnerable and open for sponsored violent attacks.
“We do hope that the era of political assassination is not about to return to Nigeria and that our nation will not descent into a draconian regime where a strike force is created to hunt key opposition figures
“We call on our citizens to note that the PDP will not consider it a mere coincidence if our key leaders suddenly become victims of terror attacks or are suddenly killed by armed robbers”, he said.
Mr. Metuh added that PDP is aware that the APC has gone to the “ridiculous extent of trailing key PDP leaders and bugging their telephone lines”.
This, he said, is in addition to hiring some disgruntled PDP members, to use the guise of an ethnic solidarity to create some disturbances, distractions and disruption of the smooth operations of the PDP.
“The APC is indeed in the process of elevating violence, ethnic and sectional interests once more in our democracy and we call on patriotic Nigerians across the country to resist this dangerous design
“We are aware that President Buhari, who had earlier restated his willingness to work with anybody elected by the legislature, has been put under intense pressure resulting in his statement on the emergence of Senator Ike Ekweremadu, which is now being misconstrued by some of his overzealous party members and security officials.
“We therefore urge the President to bear in mind that the onus therefore lies on him to moderate the political temperature of the country by calling his overbearing party members and security officials to order”, he said.