Saraki: PDP warns Presidency, APC over NASS Clerk

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has cautioned the Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) against any attempt to intimidate or harass the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa and the National Assembly Service Commission for performing their statutory functions in Tuesday’s inauguration of the National Assembly.

The PDP said any attempt by the Presidency and the APC to transfer their frustration to the Clerk would amount to witch hunt and victimization, saying what happened at the legislature was as a result of the ruling party’s ineptitude.

The opposition was reacting to a statement by presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, indicating that the Clerk to the National Assembly was adequately requested to shift the time for the Assembly’s inauguration, to enable President Muhammadu Buhari address the APC lawmakers but that the Clerk ignored the request.

No fewer than 51 APC senators were shut out of the process leading to the election of the President of the Senate and the deputy. Only 57 of the 108-member Senate participated in the election where Senators Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu were elected as President and Deputy President respectively.

But in a statement issued on Thursday by PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the party said Shehu’s statement amounted to putting undue pressure on civil servants in the National Assembly for performing their legitimate duties, describing it as a serious signal which should not be ignored.

The statement added that it was unfortunate that the APC displayed its arrogance and disrespect for the dictates of the constitution by attempting to adjust the President’s promulgation order on the National Assembly and seeking to put their interest over and above the supreme law of the land.

“It is a clear mark of disrespect to the constitution for the President and his party to fix a meeting for him to address their legislators the same time he had directed the Assembly to be inaugurated in line with the constitution.

“For 16 years that PDP nurtured democracy in this country, there was never a day it attempted to arm-twist or intimidate the bureaucracy of the National Assembly to do its bidding given our recognition and respect for the independence and sanctity of the legislative arm.

“The National Assembly is the citadel of democracy and represents the collective voice of all Nigerians. The PDP, even in opposition will continue to protect its sanctity and will therefore resist any attempt by the APC to undermine its independence and those of other democratic institutions in our country,” the statement added.

The party noted that the position of the APC and the Presidency clearly negates President Muhammadu Buhari’s well-received and praised assertion in his inaugural speech that he belongs to everybody and belongs to nobody as Nigeria’s President.

“By the last minute attempt to shift the inauguration time for party interest, the President violates his Presidential oath to defend the constitution and serve the nation without fear or favour and irrespective of party, religion and tribe, as he did not consider the interests of other political parties and the generality of Nigerians,” the party said.

The PDP further stated that emerging events have continued to justify its position that the APC was ill-equipped and unprepared for the enormous challenge of ruling the country, adding that such became glaring in the way and manner the APC handled a very vital issue like the inauguration of the National Assembly.

Source: THE NATION

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