The Federal Government says it has no hand in the call for resignation or impeachment of the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, because “it is purely party affairs.’’
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made government’s position known on Tuesday when he paid advocacy visit to the Abuja office of Blueprints Newspaper.
He said that the ruling party, All Progressives Congress’s demand for Saraki’s resignation was legitimate.
The minister, however, said that the Federal Government was surprised by the failure of the National Assembly to reconvene on Tuesday for consideration of the Independent National Electoral Commission supplementary budget for 2019 elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports the minister was at the media house to drum support for the recently launched National Campaign Against Fake News.
Fielding questions from the management of the newspaper, he said that sudden change of decision by the National Assembly to reconvene came by surprise but the Executive was reaching out to resolve the impasse.
“We were surprised that it is being postponed, but I want to assure Nigerians that as we speak, the executive is reaching out to the legislators to resolve this.
“This is not about playing politics, elections must hold, no alternative to holding the 2019 general election.
“We appeal to the sense of patriotism of our National Assembly members to put differences with the Executive behind them, real or perceived ones.
They should also put party differences behind them and do their patriotic duties.
“We believed that the impasse will be resolved very soon in the interest of the nation.
“The seed of discord we are witnessing in the National Assembly today was sowed when Sen. Bukola Saraki installed himself as Senate President against the wish of the party.
As a matter of fact, not more than 12 members of APC Senators were in the Senate Chamber when Saraki emerged as President of the Senate because bulk of them were at the International Conference Centre waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The practice all over the world is that the party with majority will determine the leadership of the Assembly,’’ he said.
Mohammed said the example of 1979 when opposition emerged Speaker of the House of Representatives was a different scenario.
“The 1979 being used as justification was not correct because the NPN was unable to have majority in the House and therefore merged with NPP.
“The NPN and the NPP sat together and agreed that while NPN takes control of the Senate the NPP will take control of leadership of the House of Representatives,’’ he said.
Mohammed said the matter was made worse when Sen. Ike Ekweremadu of PDP emerged as Deputy Senate President and the decamping of Saraki to PDP.
“By making PDP as Deputy Senate President, the APC is done for. This is a danger and time bomb waiting to happen.
“It is legitimate for the party to say, if you leave my party upon which you ride to become Senate President it is only right for Saraki to leave the party,’’ he said.