…Says party may sacrifice Senate presidency to PDP for change
From Fred Itua, Abuja
AFTER months of deafening silence, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has made its position known on the ongoing trial of the Senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, maintaining that the party will not intervene in his travails.
According to the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, President Muhammadu Buhari would not interfere with the ongoing judicial process. He said the law would be allowed to take its full course in line with the change mantra of the Federal Government.
Odigie-Oyegun also revealed that the cash-strapped party might sacrifice the Senate presidency seat to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) if situation demanded, but added that the APC was not leaving anything to chance in the event that the office becomes vacant.
Odigie-Oyegun who spoke with Premium Times, an online newspaper, said: “We do not take anything for granted. As they are planning, we are also planning. The situation is under control. The whole situation is unfortunate, but it is real.
“The president is certainly not the type who will interfere in a judicial matter. I think we know him well. Everybody must know him. Things must be done normally. And that is part of the change mantra that we must play by the rule so that we don’t truncate processes.
“People do not seem to internalize what change is. If the president says, ‘court, free that man,’ the same president can say ‘court, imprison that man.’ Is that the Nigeria you want? No! Change means allowing the law to take the proper course. I can tell you the president will not interfere. The president is straight, definite, straight and firm in all facets.
Speaking on the possibility of the PDP taking over the Senate, Odigie-Oyegun conceded: “Well, I do not think we will lose that position. But sometimes, for change to take place, there is a price you have to pay. So losing the position may be sacrifice for change.”
While re-echoing President Buhari’s intentions to usher in true change, Chief Odigie- Oyegun acknowledged the biting suffering in the country. He begged Nigerians to be patient with the APC-led Federal Government, while urgent steps were being taken to ameliorate the sufferings.
“It is very unfortunate. But Mr. President is determined. It is unfortunate that the problem is much worse than we expected; much worse in the sense that we have to develop process that will truly produce jobs; that will truly produce progress. We really want to avoid blaming the past because people no longer want that; they just want these conditions to change.
“But we still must face the reality. For instance, I don’t think there is one Nigerian that is not aware of heavy expenditure on electricity that did not result in improved supply. Sixteen years of mismanagement added to the collapse of oil caused the problem. But I assure you the president is very determined to bring the change.
“But you can’t blame Nigerians for the outcry. The wife of a man who was bringing N100 home before but now brings N40 will fight. Every single member of the family will feel it. That’s the situation with Nigerians. But Nigerians must also be aware that those people who hold the country to stranglehold are fighting back. Corruption is fighting back very massively. Look at the issue of fuel scarcity. Even as a party, we had to call the minister of state for petroleum resources. We asked ‘how do we explain all this?’”