Planned defection of 22 PDP senators to APC Senate disowns panel chair Enang



National AssemblyThe leadership of the Senate yesterday told the Chairman of its Committee on Rules and Business, Chief Ita Enang, that he went beyond his brief in threatening the 22 PDP Senators said to be on their way to the All Progressives Congress (APC) with sack from the chamber.

Several other Senators said Enang got it all wrong on the matter.

Senator Enang had, at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, vowed that the 22 Senators would automatically lose their seats and be escorted out of the chamber once they formally announce their defection.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Chief Enyinnaya Abaribe, dismissed Enang’s statement as strictly his “personal opinion”.

Abaribe said while Enang is entitled to his opinion,it should not be mistaken as the Senate’s.

The statement, he added ,also has nothing to do with the President of the Senate who had, in an earlier statement,said that the leadership of the PDP would work to keep the PDP intact and prevent further crisis in within its fold.

Abaribe said that the chamber is still on recess and that only after deliberations upon its resumption on January 14 “ would any statement on urgent matters of state be issued.”

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He added:”It is, therefore, preposterous to attribute the personal opinion of a Senator to represent the resolution of the Senate and its highly respected leadership as exemplified by Senate President Mark.

“Senate position as statutory is always relayed by its spokesman in which case it becomes safe to say that Senate has spoken.”

The Senate,he pointed out, is at peace and there is nothing to suggest that its members are working at cross purposes .

“It is one whole family of patriotic Nigerians who first and foremost defers to issues that are of national interest.

“The Senate, as currently constituted, is peopled by very distinguished Nigerians who see the institution for what it is; a hallowed chamber whose decisions and resolutions are shaped by honour and love for country”, he said.

In his reaction, the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Education,Chief Olusola Adeyeye, described Enang’s postulations as a “blackmail.”

Adeyeye said Enang spoke without the mandate of the Senate and, therefore, was speaking for himself and that nobody can “detract or subtract from the constitutional rights of Nigerians to freedom of association.”

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Adeyeye said:”Senator Ita Enang would do well not to arrogate powers which he does not have to himself.

“On this matter, Senator Ita Enang is speaking for himself. He does not even have the mandate to speak for the entire Senate on this matter. We want to make it clear that Senators would make their opinions known when they resume from the Yuletide break next week.

“The National Assembly should be the foundation of freedom in this country. It is supposed to guarantee the freedom of Nigerians, subject, of course, to the rights of the constituents of lawmaker, if he’s not following the dictates of his people.

“We warn those attempting to blackmail lawmakers that that tactic will backfire. Legislators should be free to stand by their conscience without any threat of blackmail. The laws of the land are clear on movement from one party to another and nobody should assume a position of authority he does not hold.”

Adeyeye further wondered why Enang, who has been in the National Assembly since 1999 ,has never voiced any opinion when members defected from other parties to the PDP.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Senator Victor Lar, also faulted Enang, saying the declaration of any lawmaker’s seat vacant can only be ordered by a court of law.

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He said:”This is a time when healing of those aggrieved within the PDP is required.”

Senator Enang had argued that electoral positions are contested on party basis and not on individual basis.

Enang had said: “The party is sovereign and if one is not granted the ticket by his party, the political ambition of the person suffers a setback.

“Therefore, when legislators are elected into the National Assembly, they are voted in on the basis of the political party to which they belong and not on individual grounds.”

Five governors and 37 members of the House of Representatives and 27 members of the Sokoto House of Assembly and other PDP leaders across the country have already dumped the party for the APC.







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