Why Saraki Can’t Resign As Senate President

Nigeria News takes a look at the call by Adams Oshiomhole that Senate President Bukola Saraki must resign from the position.

There is always a process for the election of a Senate president and speaker of the house of representative as there is a process to remove them.

They cannot be removed arbitrarily even when they have acted contrary to the constitution. There is always a process, which of course may take the form of passing impeachment notice on the Senate president. The impeachment notice will contain various allegations as committed by the Senate president, which he has to defend before the Senate committee set up to look at those accusations.

If he scales through, he retains his seat, if not, the Senate president stands impeachable and can be removed by members through a vote of no confidence.

In another way, the Senate president may be asked to resign voluntarily from the seat while the government begins prosecution over the allegations levied against him. Most times the party that has the majority members usually has the Senate president elected among them but not without the alignment of other members of political parties that form the core of the Senate.

This has been the case in Nigeria since 1999. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo actually wanted Evans Enwerem as the Senate President but his vice, Atiku Abubakar preferred Dr Chuba Okadigbo.

Both of the Peoples Democratic Party, which had the majority members at the Senate then. It took the help of the minority parties, which included the Alliance for Democracy, AD and APGA for Ewerem to defeat Okadigbo.

However, Okadigbo was impeached so that Evans Enwerem could come in with the help of the AD, the minority party.

One could remember that former Speaker of the House of Representatives and the incumbent Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal became the head of the federal lawmakers through the help of the minority party.

Tambuwal, a PDP member was not the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party but he leaned on the Action Congress of Nigeria who at the time did not support a woman PDP candidate to become the speaker.

Tambuwal rode on the opposition party to become a speaker at the time.

In 2015, Senator Bukola Saraki who had just defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress was never the candidate of the APC but Senator Ahmad Lawal. Being an expert of the game, he rode on the Peoples Democratic Party members at the Senate to get elected as the Senate president.

Saraki had just used the old formula to outwit the APC and its national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu but that marked the beginning of his travails, some of which he had won.

But now, Saraki is back in PDP, a party that helped him to get to the position. He was never wanted in the first place by the APC and now that he had quit, the APC wants him out of the Senate presidency.

The National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole had called on Saraki to resign, arguing that since the APC controls the majority at the Senate, Saraki should leave the position because he now represents the minority.

However, Oshiomhole should be reminded that it was not the party that elected Saraki as the Senate president but senators who had chosen their own leaders irrespective of the party affiliation. Moreover, it is not stated anywhere in the constitution that the Senate presidency belongs to the party that controls the majority at the Senate.

Probably, at this point, Oshiomhole’s every day calling for the Senate president’s resignation is buttressing the point made by Senator Bukola Saraki in his response to Oshiomhole’s threat where he says “If the only thing left of the APC change agenda is to change the Senate President we can only wish them good luck”

It sounds unconstitutional and makes a mockery of the Senate to be calling for the resignation of Saraki when he had not committed any illegality that could warrant it.

Perhaps Oshiomhole is looking at the scenario from the step taken by the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who resigned his position before defecting to APC from PDP. Akpabio had taken the decision personally and from all indications, his constituency might recall him.

At the world news conference that he addressed, Saraki said that he had no reason to resign but Oshiomhole said the Senate president must leave.

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