The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has revealed why it has been difficult for the All Progressives Congress, APC, to remove Dr. Bukola Saraki as Senate President.
Mohammed, speaking how the problems being witnessed in the ruling party started, said that Saraki forced himself into the office of the Senate President and made Ike Ekweremmadu, from the opposition, his deputy.
The Minister quoted Saraki as saying that ‘If you remove me, you are going to have PDP as Senate President’ adding that the Senate President had aligned and worked for the PDP all along.
Mohammed said this in an interview with newsmen in Lagos, where be reacted to the gale of defections in the APC.
He said that recent events in the party did not come to him as surprise, adding that they were expected.
“The foundation for what you see today was laid the day the Senate President forced himself on the party as Senate President.
“That was the day the foundation for what you are witnessing today was laid because traditionally, it is the party’s prerogative who becomes the presiding officers in the two houses. Here, we were met with a fait accompli when Dr. Bukola Saraki, against the wishes of the party, did the unthinkable by aligning with the opposition and making them an offer they could not refuse.
“I can’t quite remember the number, but almost the entire 40 plus senators in PDP voted for him. So, he needed only a minority from the APC. We were all waiting for Mr. President to come and address us on this issue at the International Conference Centre, it was announced that he (Bukola) had emerged as the Senate President.
“From that day, we knew we had two problems: one, we had a Senate President who imposed himself on the party, and to make it worse, as an insurance, he arranged for an opposition person to be Deputy Senate President; that makes it impossible for us to remove him, hence his thinking, ‘If you remove me, you are going to have a PDP Senate President.’
“From that day, we had a problem. This is not a surprise at all. Of course, you could see the behaviour of the National Assembly since then. We have a National Assembly in which we had a clear majority in both houses, but which treated the executive with contempt and actually slowed down the work of government.
“In 2016, 2017 and 2018, our budgets were delayed. In 2016 and 2017, the earliest we got our budgets was June. Key appointments, nominations and confirmations for key organisations that could move the government forward like the CBN, like the NDIC, were delayed.
“Really, it couldn’t have been worse if the PDP had a majority in the National Assembly.”