• No crack in our party, but we’ll do the needful if… – PDP
Juliana Taiwo and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Presidency has confirmed the planned defection of Senate Minority Leader and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly matters (Senate), Ita Enang, made the disclosure yesterday, when he accompanied the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, to the Presidential Villa, Abuja for a meeting with the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
Addressing State House Correspondents, Lawan said: “Now the leader of the Senate has said they are 53, but, I want to assure him that the APC has harvested more people from the PDP and other political parties. The head of the PDP in the Senate is formally joining the APC family and that will be in a big ceremony on Wednesday, August 8, in Akwa Ibom State. So, the head of the PDP who holds all the documents of the PDP, His Excellency, Distinguished Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio (CON) is coming over with a great team and other minorities will join the APC family and we are good and strong.”
Meanwhile, the PDP has said it will do the needful if Akpabio cross-carpets to the ruling party.
The former Akwa Ibom State governor, who is currently the Senate Minority leader, was elected into the Senate on the PDP platform in 2015.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, insisted the party is not yet aware of alleged plan by the former Akwa Ibom governor to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“When we arrive at the bridge, we’ll cross it. Like I said earlier on, we’ve not been notified. When we get the notice of resignation, we will react accordingly. There is no crack in our party. We’ll do the needful if the situation arises,” he said.
Ologbondiyan further alleged that in its determined bid to change the leadership of the National Assembly, the Presidency is offering senators $1million each to impeach the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu.
He said: “Currently, the Presidency, in its corrupt proclivity, is seeking to force the reopening of the Senate, contrary to Section 12 of the Senate Standing Rules for which the Presidency and the APC are offering lawmakers, from both chambers, an inducement of $1 million each, with the aim of impeaching the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
“The PDP has been informed that one of the heads of the security agencies is the arrow head of the Presidency’s agents charged to coordinate this heinous design, which has the unlimited capacity to throw our nation into anarchy and ultimately destroy our hard-earned democracy.”
While dismissing the anti-war of the federal government as a ruse, the PDP spokesman challenged the government to address Nigerians on its complicity on alleged cases of corruption among government officials.
On the calls by the Presidency on the National Assembly to reconvene to consider the request for the N242 billion budgeted for the 2019 general elections, Ologbondiyan said the Executive arm of government is using the request to blackmail the parliament.
He alleged that President Buhari does not want the 2019 general elections to hold and added that it is the reason the government is tying the N242 billion budget for the election to funds already appropriated for constituency projects.
He said if the government actually wanted the 2019 poll to hold, all it would have done was to submit a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to cover the cost of the election. However, he said no matter what the Presidency does, elections would take place.
This is the second time in two days that the main opposition party would accuse the Presidency of offering senators bribe to impeach the senate president, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu.
The PDP had earlier alleged that the Presidency had offered senator N50m each to impeach Saraki and Ekweremadu, an allegation the ruling APC had described as “cheap blackmail and the cry of a drowning man.”
In a statement signed by the Acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, the ruling party said: “It’s cry of a drowning man. This administration cannot inject tax payers money into impeaching the Senate President or the Speaker of the House of Representatives. This is a serious government and not a dead party called the PDP.
“PDP is trying to whip up sentiment before their final burial, in 2019. National Assembly members have procedures on how a Speaker or Senate President can be impeached. And, we believe the APC lawmakers know their rules, and they will apply it accordingly.
“The hierarchy of the APC has no business spending money to impeach these people, because APC still commands the majority in both houses. Since Saraki has gone back to where he came from, he cannot preside over majority APC lawmakers. Therefore, we will use our numerical strength to remove him, following the rule of law,” the statement read.