APC Senators Walk Out As Ekweremadu Presides | WakaWaka Reporters

APC Senators Walk Out As Ekweremadu Presides

The All Progressives Congress (APC) senators yesterday threatened to stay away from the Senate at any session presided over by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.

Ekweremadu, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker, emerged as the Deputy Senate President in a Senate with APC as the majority party.

The Enugu West senatorial representative for the first time since his controversial election on June 9 presided over Senate session yesterday, following the absence of Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki.

Saraki, it was said, went to the Presidential Villa, Abuja for the inauguration of the ministers by President Muhammadu Buhari.

During the session, some APC lawmakers led by Senators Ahmed Lawan and George Akume stormed out of the chamber immediately they noticed that Ekweremadu was to preside.

It was not clear initially why Lawan and Akume walked out, but a statement by the Secretary of the Senate Unity Forum, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna North), threw light on the development.

Lawan and Akume are leading members of the Senate Unity Forum, a group that supported Lawan to vie for the Senate president.

Senator Hunkuyi’s statement is titled: ‘As President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurates the Federal Executive Council (FEC) of the change agenda, PDP takes over the hallowed chamber of the Senate.’

It reads: “We notice with joy the inauguration of the FEC by the President, Commander-in-Chief, Muhammadu Buhari, today, November 11.

“Finally, the change agenda has cleared the coast to stand up the integrated development of the APC- formed government.

“In equal stance, we notice with grave sadness, the handover of the hallowed chamber of the Senate today to the opposition party, the PDP, by the Senate President to Ike Ekweremadu as the PDP helmsman to preside over the majority membership of the APC-led chamber.

“It is a very sad development that must be denounced by well-meaning APC members and leaders alike.

“With this, to show our protest as APC senators of the Eight Senate, we wish to announce that we shall cease attend any sitting presided over by the PDP in an APC majority chamber of the Eight Senate.”

Hunkuyi told reporters after the walkout that he does not recognise Ekweremadu as the Deputy Senate President.

He said he was not prepared to sit in a chamber presided over by Ekweremadu.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, also an APC senator, countered what Hunkuyi said.

Abdullahi said in a statement that the attention of the Senate had been drawn to a statement titled: “The conspiracy against the APC finally consummated.”

He denied that there was any conspiracy among the senators.

Abdullahi said: “The consummation of a conspiracy is the figment of the imagination of those behind the statement and should be disregarded by Nigerians.”

He said: “The Senate wish to reiterate its total commitment to providing robust legislative actions to support the change agenda of Mr. President as he strives to move Nigeria to a new height.

“The bi-partisan stand of the Senate has not and will not be an impediment in any way.

“The distinguished senators are happy with the inauguration of the Federal Executive Council and looks forward to having a harmonious, rancour-free but inclusive and participatory relationship that has at its heart the welfare of Nigerians.

“Finally, as we await the unveiling of the policy directions of Mr. President through the members of his Executive, the Senate is poised to work harder and better to support the emergence of a changed Nigeria of our collective dream.”

Abdullahi said it became necessary for him to clarify the situation because “the spurious statement by some people has come to our notice.”

He noted that senators of APC and PDP were in agreement that the country has to change.

Abdullahi said APC and PDP members, including their families, go to the same market and use the same road.

Said he: “We will not allow anything to come between us and the challenges in Nigeria, because Nigerians are waiting for us.