The National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has asked Senate President Bukola Saraki to resign from office following his defection to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, he said since Saraki has left the ruling party, he should leave behind the “crown” that belongs to it. He said: “But whatever is the reason, we can decamp from a party but we can’t decamp from Nigeria. The only thing is that there are other consequential issues that every man or woman of honour who had taken such decisions would be expected to follow through.
“I mean you should not collect a crown that belongs to a family and wear it on behalf of the family if for your personal reasons which he has enumerated that he has gone to another family.
“It is just a matter of honour to leave the crown in the house that the crown belongs to. As it stands even now, APC is still the largest party in the Senate. We have 53 senators, that is much more than PDP has, or APGA has.”
The party boss said he was not surprised about the defection saying that given all what had happened, the APC expected him to decamp earlier.
He said he was happy that the Senate President acknowledged the effort he made as the party chairman to get him to remain in the APC.
Oshiomhole noted: “Nobody in the APC will be surprised about the development. In fact, they have stayed a little bit longer than we thought. Last week the Kwara has State Governor was alluded to have said he was leaving but he didn’t say when. So, we are not surprised at all.
“But these are what I might call temping moments because I had faced similar situations in my state when people were leaving. But the beauty of democracy is that whether big or small, it is one man one vote. On Election Day, no difference between a senator, a president, a journalist and any other person.
“In a sense, we have to accept that once a couple for any for reason or the other find that they not compatible, the only honourable thing is to go. “I was happy for one thing that the Senate President as a mark of honour accepted that he is leaving not because the new leadership did not make effort. He admitted that not only did I do everything possible along with the Vice President, along with some governors and we had met with the President, but he argued that those efforts came too late. But I couldn’t have started acting before I was born.”
He was confident that the party would grow stronger from its present crisis.
The party boss remarked: “So, I think the important thing is that our democracy is still evolving. There are a couple of lessons to learn from the development. Going forward, we will expect the system to get stronger to the extent that it is able to learn the correct lessons and take the correct steps to profit from these developments.
“I have made this point and some commentators who don’t seem to understand take one part of the argument and leave the other. I have said that if people have genuine, verifiable grievances, we are committed even now to listen and address those grievances in what I call, win-win manner.
“I have been consistent with that during campaign, I have been consistent since I was sworn in, I have made the points in my acceptance speech, I have emphasised this when I met with the Senate caucus and speech, I have emphasised this when I met with the House of Representatives caucus, that we are ready to do justice to anyone who is genuinely aggrieved and whose grievances are such that we can deal with them provided we enthroned justice, fairness and most sides purge themselves of any arrogance.
“To the best of my knowledge all senators, House of Reps members were happy. The ones that are not negotiable there is nothing we can do about it.”
Also speaking, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, appealed to the members of the National Assembly to return from recess and consider the requests of President Buhari of INEC’s budget for the 2019 election.
He said: “As the president leaves for his vacation, I believe we are supposed to continue to be very responsible legislators, those issues that are so important to this country that we have not dealt with, we should be able to come together, come back and deal with them. Here I have in mind the consideration of the budget of INEC for the 2019 election, that is the request of Mr President to approve some virement on the 2018 budget. I believe that we are going to do a lot of justice to the people of this country to work hard to pass those requests.
“Also, I believe that as a party we will continue to consult, unite and solidify and the National Chairman has just told you, the APC remains the majority in the Senate, we have 53 senators, we reeled out the names and the states. Though the other side is claiming they have 60, 70, they have never given a name, is left for you to make your judgement.
“In fact, I am using this medium to challenge them to give the names of the PDP senators, we have published ours and among the 53 none has come out to deny that he is APC. Let them publish their own, they remain 48 senators in PDP. And by the grace of God, when the by-elections in Bauchi and Kaduna will hold, we will get two senators and that will boost our number.
“We have pledged our total commitment and loyalty to our party and Mr President, we remain true and genuine representatives of our people, we will not want to do anything that is not in the interest of our people and this administration.“I am calling on my colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives to come back and consider the requests of Mr President for the virement and supplementary budget for INEC for the 2019 elections.”