The threat of the National Assembly to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari has suffered its first setback hours after it was issued, with a group of Buhari loyalists saying the threat was motivated by “personal matters” and was championed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers rather the generality of National Assembly members.
After both chambers of the National Assembly emerged from an emergency closed-door session on Tuesday, the legislature listed 10 conditions that the President must meet, otherwise impeachment proceedings would be instituted against him.
However, it has now emerged that support is building against the supposed impeachment move, with some lawmakers coming together to assure Buhari he has nothing to bother about.
“The Parliamentary Support Group of the Senate and House of Representatives made up of Senators and Members who support and believe in the ideals of @MBuhari is aware of the joint Executive session of the National Assembly held today and wish to state as follows,” read a statement circulated on Twitter by Abdulmumin Jibrin.
“That almost all the members and senators that spoke at the Executive session are of the PDP while members of the APC supported by some leaders declined joining the discussion to avoid a rowdy confrontation as the entire session could easily pass for a PDP Executive session.
“That it is commendable that the Speaker tactically refused to make any comment at the session even after the Senate President took time to explain the issues which are mostly personal.
“That it is disturbing and raised many questions of pre-determined intentions that a known ally of the Senate President from Kwara State Hon Rasak Atunwa drafted what was adopted as the resolution and without voting against standard parliamentary practice.
“That most of the issues raised concerning the fight against corruption, insecurity and the rule of law has been severally discussed in the Senate (including a special session with security chiefs few days ago) and the House and various resolutions passed.
“That we commend the efforts of Mr President in the fight against corruption, tackling of the insecurity challenges and respect for rule of law and democratic institutions. Mr President is known for his non-interference policy and strict adherence to rule of law
“That every Senator or Member of House who has corruption or criminal allegation against him or her should clear his or her name with the relevant security and anti-graft agencies without dragging the entire institution of the National Assembly into the matter.”
The group also suggested that the National Assembly is guilty of the very accusations it has levelled against the executive, writing:
“That the National Assembly should as well look inward and address the issue of suffocating Senators and members with dissenting or contrary opinion through coercion or extra legal means, adherence to rule of law and support and expose internal corruption were there are such.
“That the PDP should recall how it members in the 7th Assembly sat comfortably in the chamber and watched a sitting Speaker, Tambuwal locked out of the National Assembly and all his security personnel withdrawn while APC members had to scale the fence to gain entrance into NASS.
“That we must exercise caution at this delicate period not to overheat the polity with statements that are capable of dividing the country, embarrassing us before the watching world and creating friction between the legislature, Executive and specifically Mr President.
“We wish to reaffirm our support for Mr President (no amount of threat or intimidation can deter us) and urge him not to be distracted by mischief makers as he works assiduously towards dealing with the challenges of our country.”
Back in April, Saraki disbanded the Parliamentary Support Group after the Senate suspended one if its members, Ovie Omo-Agege, a Delta senator, for 90 legislative days.
The group was chaired by Abdullahi Adamu, senator representing Nasarawa West, and had members such as the late Ali Wakili, senator representing Bauchi South; Binta Garba, senator representing Adamawa North and Umaru Kurfi, senator representing Katsina Central.
Saraki had expressed displeasure that some people “act like they are holier than thou” at the expense of others, saying he ought to be the leader of such group in the upper legislative chamber.
“Distinguished colleagues, a number of points have been raised. One borders on the issue of preserving the integrity of this institution. To me, that is what I think is the most important thing for us,” he had said.
“Second, is where we take actions that are not sincere. I think in this chamber, if we want to talk about who has the right to say he is chairman of a Parliamentary Support Group for Mr President both by action and by what we have done, I think that I have the right to lead that more than anyone else here.
“Those of us that understand politics, understand that because of our own peculiar interest, sometimes some people decide to act like they are holier than thou or more committed — at the expense of others. This is not something that we should tolerate, and I believe that in an institution like this we must show discipline, but at the same time we must also show compassion.
“Distinguished colleagues, there must be discipline. We must show that such groups must be suspended and the case in court must be withdrawn. I think by that we would have captured, no more of this kind of groups in the senate.”
Tuesday’s emergency closed-door session of the National Assembly is a fallout of the Police invitation to Saraki, which was converted to a request for written explanation, after five Offa bank robbers named him among their sponsors. His DSS security — as well as those of Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of representatives — were withdrawn on Sunday, but they were later restored on Tuesday after the new PDP block of the All Progressives Congress (APC) threatened fire and brimstone.