Ike Ekweremadu, the embattled deputy president of Nigeria’s senate, has vowed not resign from the office despite the insistence of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress, that he should be removed.
Ekweremadu who spoke through his media aide, Mr. Ismail Omipidan, told the Punch on Sunday, July 24, 2016, that he had no reason to step aside as the Deputy Senate President as he was duly elected into the office.
He recalled that several public office-holders had defected from his party, the PDP, to the APC without any noise from the latter, adding that the APC had produced either the Speaker or Deputy Speaker in some states’ Houses of Assembly where the party was in the minority.
Ekweremadu stated that the PDP had corrected the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, when he recently faulted his occupation of the office.
“The call for Ekweremadu’s resignation also exposes the hypocrisy of some APC stalwarts. You will recall that when Tambuwal defected (from the PDP) to the APC, all the notable leaders of the party, including Lai Mohammed who was the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, stated clearly that there was nowhere in the constitution where it was stated that the Speaker (of the House of Representatives) must be produced by the majority party; that was their argument. (The current Majority Leader of the House) Femi Gbajabiamila also said so,” Omipidan said.
“What has now changed? The constitution has not been rewritten; it is the same constitution. And it is very clear that ‘the senators shall elect the Senate President and the Deputy Senate President from amongst themselves.”
Omipidan also recalled that under the first tenure of Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, the ruling APC produced the speaker of the House of Assembly while an opposition party produced the deputy speaker. He also recalled that an opposition APC had produced either speakers or deputy speakers of Benue and Plateau states’ Houses of Assembly.
“Where you don’t have a clear majority, there has to be some alliances to make the legislative work go smoothly. These things happened in the states but they never raised eyebrows then,” he added.
One of the aides of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who also spoke to the newspaper on condition of anonymity, stated that the APC currently lacked the popularity in the Senate to unseat Ekweremadu, stressing that removing Ekweremadu would be easier for the APC if all its members were on the same page, unlike their PDP counterparts who were united.
“Today, the APC has a divided house while the PDP senators – over 40 of them – are all together, working together. It is a more complex issue,” the source said.
“it takes a simple majority to elect the senate president and the deputy senate president but it will take two-thirds of the senators to remove any of them, which the APC currently lacks.”
Confirming this, Senator Shehu Sani, an APC senator, said it would be difficult for the APC to effect Ekweremadu’s removal when its senators had been factionalised.
“The issue of removal of Ekweremadu; it is not impossible but it has a lot of consequences. You cannot achieve the removal of Ekweremadu until there is a united APC senators.” Sani said.