All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators Wednesday threatened to stay away from the Senate chamber at any session presided over by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
Ekweremadu, a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Senator, emerged Deputy Senate President in a Senate Chamber with APC as the majority party.
The Enugu West Senatorial representative for the first time since his controversial election on June 9th, 2015, presided over Senate session Wednesday due to the absence of the Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki.
Saraki, it was said, went to the Presidential Villa, Abuja for the inauguration of ministers by President Muhammadu Buhari.
During the Senate session, some APC Senators led by Senators Ahmed Lawan and George Akume stormed out of the chamber immediately they noticed that Ekweremadu was to preside.
It was not clear initially why Lawan and Akume walked out of the chamber but a statement by the Secretary of the Senate Unity Forum, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna North) threw some light on the development.
Lawan and Akume are leading members of the Senate Unity Forum, a group that supported Lawan to gun for the Senate Presidency.
Senator Hunkuyi’s statement is entitled “As Mr. President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurates the new Federal Executive Council of the change agenda, PDP takes over the hallowed chamber of the Senate.”
It read in part, “We notice with joy the inauguration of the FEC by President, Commander-in-Chief, Muhammadu Buhari of the Federal Executive Council today the 10th of November 2015.
“Finally, the change agenda has cleared the coast to stand up the integrated development of the APC formed government.
“In equal stance, we noticed with grave sadness the handover of the hallowed chamber of the Senate today to the opposition party, the PDP, by the Senate President to Ike Ekweremadu as the PDP helmsman to preside over the majority membership of the APC led chamber.
“It is a very sad development that must be denounced by all well meaning APC members and leaders alike.
“With this, to show our protest, as APC Senators of the 8th Senate wish to announce that we shall cease to attend any sitting presided over by the PDP in an APC majority chamber of the 8th Senate.”
Hunkuyi told some reporters after the walk out that he does not recognize Ekweremadu as the Deputy Senate President.
He added that he was not prepared to sit in a chamber presided over by Ekweremadu.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi also APC Senator countered what Hunkuyi said.
Abdullahi in a statement said that the attention of the Senate had been drawn to a release captioned “The conspiracy against the APC finally consummated.”
He dismissed that there was any conspiracy of any nature among Senators.
Abdullahi said that “The consummation of a conspiracy is the figment of the imagination of those behind the news release and should be disregarded by Nigerians.”
He said, “The Senate wish to reiterate its total commitment to providing robust legislative actions to support the change agenda of Mr. President as he strives to move Nigeria to new height.
“The bi-partisan stand of the Senate has not and will not be an impediment in any way.
“The Distinguished Senators are happy with the inauguration of the Federal Executive Council and looks forward to having harmonious, rancor-free but inclusive and participatory relationship that has at its heart the welfare of Nigerians.
“Finally, as we await the unveiling of the policy directions of Mr. President through the members of his executive, the Senate is indeed poised to work harder and better to support the emergence of a changed Nigeria of our collective dream.”
Abdullahi said that it became necessary for him to clarify the situation because “the spurious statement by some people has come to our notice.”
He noted that Senators of APC and PDP were in total agreement that the country has to change.
Abdullahi said that APC and PDP members including their family members go to the same market and use the same road.
“We will not allow anything to come between us and the challenges in Nigeria because Nigerians are waiting for us,” he said.
On the adjournment of the Senate till next Tuesday, he was to honour the dead clerk of the Senate, Mr. Adedotun Durojaiye.