Monday, 28 September 2015

The PDP denied reports replacing Saraki, -- We won’t abandon Saraki –PDP

PDP has said that the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, is fit for the office he is occupying; hence it is not considering any candidate to replace him.

The PDP denied reports that it was already looking for a senator from the opposition party to replace Saraki, who is currently under pressure to resign from office following his trial for false asset declaration by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Nigeria’s two main labour unions–Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress – on Saturday demanded Saraki’s resignation on moral grounds consequent upon his trial at the CCT.

The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, who spoke to our correspondent on Sunday, said the party still believed that the trial of Saraki was political and that the PDP would not think of abandoning the Senate president until it sees the merit of the case.

Metuh said, “We have no candidate for the office of the Senate President, because we have a fit person occupying the position for now.

“We are behind him and we can’t abandon him just because he is undergoing trial. Anybody can be put on trial, but the question we should ask is whether the trial is political or not.

“Does the trial have merit? When we see the merit of the case, we will take position. But for now, there is nothing like that.”

Saraki, a former governor of Kwara State, is currently facing a 13-count charge of making false declaration as a governor between 20013 and 2011.

Since his arraignment before the tribunal, there had been speculations that the PDP, which produced Saraki’s deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, had been scheming to replace him with one of its senators.

Among those being touted as possible replacements for Saraki are Ekweremadu; a former Senate President, David Mark; and a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio.

Saraki had defied the directive of his party, the All Progressives Congress, and had clinched the Senate presidency with the backing of senators of the PDP, his former party.

The APC has 59 senators while the PDP has 49 but the Senate inauguration and election took place on June 9 while about 50 APC senators were waiting for a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari outside the National Assembly.

But while the APC senators have been divided from inception of the eighth Senate, all the 49 PDP senators have been united.

The PDP senators have been the main backers of Saraki since his assumption of office as the Senate president.

Metuh said it was too early for the party to be talking with its members in the Senate or thinking of abandoning the Senate president.

He said the PDP was still of the opinion that Saraki was being prosecuted because of his political belief.

The opposition spokesman said, “We are not even thinking of replacement for Saraki for now. The National Assembly is a separate arm of the government just like the judiciary and the executive.

“Is anyone thinking that there would be leadership change in the executive and the judiciary?

“Are they not independent of the other? What we are interested in is that all the three arms of government must be allowed to function independently of the other. We are saying there shouldn’t be any interference.”

When he was reminded that the leadership of both the executive and the judiciary are not on trial for any crime, Metuh said that “trial doesn’t amount to conviction.”