The appointment came on a day Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State said any attempt to remove Saraki as Senate president would be stoutly resisted. Being the highest office holder in the party at the moment, Saraki will replace his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who held the position until his defection with other top APC members to the PDP.
His emergence as National Leader of the PDP is upon his ranking as the party’s highest office holder.Saraki’s arrival was heralded by loud ovation as he was led into the venue of the meeting by PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus and other top leaders of the party. Saraki, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State were all present at the meeting.
The NEC meeting was in celebration mood as the politicians exchanged banters. Apart from former APC chiefs, the meeting hosted key figures in the PDP, including governors, lawmakers and some of the presidential aspirants.
Attempt to impeach Saraki will be resisted — Tambuwal
Meanwhile, Governor Tambuwal has said PDP would resist any attempt to remove Saraki as Senate president.Tambuwal, who stated, yesterday, at the 81st National Executive Committee meeting, NEC, of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, noted that any recourse to his impeachment would be resisted. Berating the state of affairs of the nation underAll Progressives Congress administration, Tambuwal said when Nigerians trooped out en-masse to elect the current government more than three years ago, they expected a robust democracy where they would be free to hold contrary political opinions without fear of harassment.
He said: “Only about three days ago, I did say that Nigerians will not accept prison yard democracy; a situation whereby people would be simply framed up on account of different political leanings, is unacceptable. ‘’We cannot afford to allow our country to drift further. It’s not about any interest, it’s about this country. This country is on a cliff. We must retrieve it, we must position this country and restructure it for the benefit of Nigerians.
“When they talk about cross-carpeting, I begin to wonder. When I cross-carpeted the other time, did they complain? When I hear that some people are trying to break into the chambers of the Senate to steal the mace and install a pseudo President of the Senate, I wonder whether they actually know the rules of our democratic engagement. It’s not Gestapo. We are in a democracy. ”
The constitution of this country is very clear that members of the Senate and the House of Representatives can choose from among themselves their own President of the Senate or Speaker of House of Representatives without leaning to any political party.
“It is a question of confidence in members of the chambers. So, if senators have confidence in Bukola Saraki, they should continue to sustain him as President of the Senate. And so be it with Mr Speaker, Dogara (Yakubu). “Let them hear it very clear. If you try it (illegal impeachment), we will match out our forces in this country and jam you,because we are talking about democracy. We cannot afford to allow anybody, no matter how highly placed, to toy with the future of about 200 million people in this country.”
It’s a great day for our country —Saraki
On his part, Saraki described his first day at the party’s national headquarters since his defection as “a great day for our country.” While stressing that a day for long speeches would come, the Senate President expressed gladness to be back to the party where his journey to political limelight began in 1999.
He said: “I am happy to be back to the political party where I started my political career,” he said, even as he called on party leaders to go the extra mile to return the PDP back to power. “Everybody is important and no sacrifice will be too much to make in our journey to the Promised Land.”
Remain resolute, Secondus charges party faithful
An elated national chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, while welcoming the returnees, including the lawmakers representing Kano Central senatorial district, Musa Kwankwaso, and Benue North-East, Barnabas Gemade, charged party faithful to remain resolute, adding that the ruling party will continue to assault democratic institutions in the country.
Secondus tasked security agents and the electoral umpire on the need for impartiality in the discharge of their constitutional duties.
“If the security agents and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, think they are now a parastatal or arm of government; we challenge them to wait and see,” he warned.
NEC approves amendment of rules to accommodate Not-Too- Young-To-Run Act
At the end of the meeting, NEC approved a review of party’s rules to look into the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Act. It also discussed a timetable for the primary elections, with National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, saying the party would make its position clear on the timetable “in the days ahead.”
Some of the dignitaries present at the well-attended meeting included the governors of Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Taraba states, Nyesom Wike, Ben Ayande, Udom Emmanuel and Darius Ishaku respectively. Others included former governors of Benue, Adamawa, Kogi, Kaduna, Jigawa, Kano, Sokoto and Niger States-Gabriel Suswam, Boni Haruna, Ibrahim Idris, Ahmed Makarfi, Sule Lamido, Ibrahim Shekarau, Attahiru Bafarawa and Babangida Aliyu respectively, among others.