The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives caucus, on Monday, warned against the planned reconvening of the National Assembly by aggrieved senators allegedly bent on removing Saraki, from office following his defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP.
House Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Chukwuka Onyema, in a statement after a meeting of the caucus, said that the procedure for reconvening the National Assembly is unambiguously stated in the rules of both houses which draw their constitutionality from Section 60 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
He said that the caucus has unearthed an impending plot by a group of senators aided by security agencies to again invade the Senate chamber with a view to illegally reconvening the Senate plenary.
He said, “Ostensibly, their purpose is to address what they term as urgent national issues. However, it is clear that their real purpose is an attempt to unlawfully oust the leadership of the Senate and effect a change of the Senate president and the deputy Senate president.
“This trend of events must be strenuously resisted by all true democrats and well-meaning Nigerians. We have over time witnessed a descent of our country’s once stable democracy slide into an abyss of illiberal dictatorship. A government that has shown disdain for the rule of law and complete disregard for the principles of separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution.
Condemning the planned onslaught on the National Assembly and democracy in general, the PDP House members insisted that when the National Assembly stands adjourned to a fixed date, it may only be reconvened at an earlier or later date when leaders of political parties in the National Assembly make written representation to the presiding officers stating a need to reconvene plenary to attend to matters of urgent national importance. They added that in such an event, the presiding officers may give notice to members of a date that the National Assembly is to reconvene.
“In the present instance, there has been no such notification to either the Senate president or the speaker of the House of Representatives.
Therefore any attempt to operate outside of the rules is illegal. “It is symbolic of the hideous excesses of this government’s attempt to wither and destroy the institution of parliament and the bastion of our democracy. “We urge those who are behind the unholy manoeuvre to desist from these shenanigans and be reminded that we still operate a democracy. It is therefore incumbent on all of us as Nigerians to jealousy guard our hard earned democracy,” the lawmakers said.
In a related development, the Presidency has warned that if the National Assembly fails to reconvene and pass President Muhammadu Buhari’s supplementary budget, the government may shut down in some few months.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, gave the warning on Monday after a meeting with the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, alongside Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, at the Presidential Villa Abuja.