The Senate may witness a change of leadership if the threat by aggrieved senators from the two main political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, to impeach Senate President David Mark for not protecting them in the just concluded party primaries is carried out.
If successful, the plot may see the APC producing the Senate President in addition to the House of Representatives speakership. This is coming as 168 members of the House of Representatives have endorsed the plan to impeach President Goodluck Jonathan.
Some of the vocal and prominent PDP senators, who had defended the party with every available means whenever the opposition APC senators raised eye-brow over some of President Jonathan’s policies were surprised that both the Senate leadership and the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party could not reciprocate the gesture. Instead the senators were left at the mercy of state governors.
Consequently, the aggrieved senators in both the PDP and APC, who lost return tickets at the various party primaries have decided to move against the Senate leadership for not protecting them during the primaries.
It’s a rumour — Mark
However, Senate President Mark has dismissed the alleged plot to unseat him, saying the claimed plot existed only in the imagination of those parading the rumour.
The alleged plot to remove Mark came on the heels of the impending plan to commence impeachment of President Jonathan by some senators, which is expected to be presented before the Senate on resumption this week.
In what may look like a change of gear, it was gathered that the aggrieved senators, with some PDP senators now joining their ranks, have decided to rather kick-start the removal of the Senate leadership instead, starting with Mark.
A senator, who was privy to the deal, yesterday evening, told Vanguard: “The plan has changed. We never expected the party to treat us this way. We stood by the party when there was turbulence occasioned by the emergence of the new PDP.
“There was a plot then to impeach the same leadership but we stepped in and stopped it with our sheer number. In fact, we used our personal contacts to talk to the organisers and they backed down. We prevailed on them not to rock the boat more so as the Seventh Senate had just a few months to go.
“We thought the party would take note of what we did and also note our loyalty to the party and reward us. Rather, we were not even protected in these primaries. Can you imagine the party leaving us at the mercy of state governors?”
Saraki or Akume as Mark’s replacement
It was gathered that the aggrieved senators were considering replacing Senator Mark with the Senate Minority Leader, George Akume (Benue) or another staunch member of the APC and Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Bukola Saraki (Kwara).
The choice of either Senator Akume or Senator Bukola was to ensure that “the Senate Presidency does not leave the North Central.”
Support for Tambuwal
The Senators also vowed to mobilize support for the embattled Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal to ensure that he is not removed by the PDP and the presidency.
The support for Tambuwal was in line with last week’s judgement by the court that the PDP governors that left the party should not leave their seats.
Although the Senate will resume plenary tomorrow, the aggrieved lawmakers have not fixed a date to execute the planned impeachment plot. They were also mute on whether or not the plot against Jonathan is still on the front burner and if it would be tabled in the chamber this week, contrary to Senator Alkali Jajere’s interview with newsmen two weeks ago.
But reacting to the alleged plot to unseat the Senate President, Mark, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Kola Ologbondiyan dismissed the alleged plot, saying, “There’s no such plot.”
50 senators lose return tickets
About 50 serving senators lost their bid to return to the red chamber following their inability to pick their parties’ tickets.
Only two senators, Mark and the Senate Chief Whip, Bello Gwarzo, have survived re-election since 1999. Every election year since 2003, the Senate had witnessed exodus of many of the 109 legislators who fail to return starting with losing re-election tickets and then the election proper. A similar scenario is expected in 2015 when the Eight National Assembly will be inaugurated.
Why? Official results of the primaries across the 109 senatorial districts in the country show that about 50 of the serving senators failed to pick return tickets due to defeats occasioned by high-wire manoeuvre by state governors and those highly placed in government. It is also not certain whether some of those who picked the tickets would win in the 2015 elections following the outcry that the process was manipulated to favour some.