Indications emerged yesterday that senators elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were plotting to take over the position of the Senate President in the event that embattled Senator Bukola Saraki is forced to vacate the seat.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that, as part of the moves to carry out their plans, PDP senators were holding meetings with some All Progressives Congress, APC, senators sympathetic to Saraki.
The Senate President is facing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, following a 13-count charge brought against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, bordering on false declaration of assets in 2003.
The APC, which initially had 60 senators, now has 59, following the death of Senator Ahmed Zannah. PDP has 49 senators. To elect a Senate President, a simple majority is required – whereas to impeach same, a two third majority vote is required.
The Senate resumes on Tuesday.
With 108 senators, a simple majority vote of 55 will decide who would become the new Senate President.
The calculation is that if APC uses the CCT or other means to remove Saraki, the PDP would reach out to the Senate President’s core supporters in APC who sense that they, too, like Saraki, may become endangered. They will then try to get the number to make the balance and go ahead with either Senator David Mark or the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, as the replacement.
One of the PDP senators told Sunday Vanguard , yesterday, that the APC should count itself lucky that PDP did not field one of its own for the position on June 9, 2015, when the Senate was inaugurated, adding, “We are already strategising ahead in case Senate President Bukola Saraki is removed, we are going to support a pro-Saraki Senator for the seat and with that PDP will be in charge of the Senate.”
At inauguration, the 33 senators-elect committed to Senator Ahmed Lawan, the party’s official candidate, were still waiting to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari at the International Conference Centre, ICC, about two kilometres away from the National Assembly, when inauguration commenced.
Having formed the quorum, Saraki was elected President of the 8th Senate with votes by 57 of 108 senators, while 51 senators, including Lawan, were absent. Saraki was the only nominee for the position. Ekweremadu of the PDP, interestingly, emerged Deputy Senate President, defeat ing Senator Ali Ndume of the APC with 54 votes against Ndume’s 20 votes. Both Saraki and Ekweremadu were immediately sworn-in by the Clerk of the Senate, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa.
The APC leadership has consistently expressed its displeasure at the emergence of Saraki.
Senator Peter Nwaboshi, PDP, Delta North, yesterday vowed that the his party would produce the next Senate President if Senator Bukola Saraki was removed – while at the same time expressing optimism for Saraki’s continued tenure as Senate President.
Although he insisted that “there is no such plan to remove Senate President Saraki, but I bet you that if there is anything of such, the PDP will produce the next Senate President; we will get it”.