Thursday, 30 March 2017

Presidency, Senate’s face-off gets messier, as Sagay says, they can’t summon me, it’s illegal

ABUJA—THE battle of wits between the Presidency and the Senate took a new twist, yesterday, as the Senate summoned the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, SAN, for describing the lawmakers’ actions as childish and irresponsible.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara; Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and President Muhammadu Buhari

 The Senate asked Professor Sagay to appear before the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, led by Senator Samuel Anyanwu, PDP, Imo East, to clear himself of the allegation and explain why he insulted the Senate as an institution. The committee was given four weeks to submit its report.

 In a reposte, Prof Sagay said the lawmakers cannot summon him and described the summons as illegal. This happened on a day  the Upper Chamber suspended former Senate Leader, Senator Mohammed Ndume over his petition calling for investigation into the allegation discrediting Senator Dino Melaye as a graduate of the Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria. 

It also cleared Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, over  the Range Rover SUV Customs duty scandal. Ndume’s suspension order followed the recommendation of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions which investigated the allegation.
 Meanwhile, the polity was awash with mixed views over the soured relations between the Presidency and the Senate on account of which the legislators suspended for two weeks the screening of 27 nominees for appointment as Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs by President Muhammadu Buhari. While some backed the lawmakers and wondered why President Buhari is insisting on Mr Ibrahim Magu as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, others threw their weight behind the presidency and berated the lawmakers. Yet, some urged immediate resolution of the brewing crisis, fearing that it portends grave danger for the country. 

Eminent Nigerians, who spoke on the face-off, included Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed; Senator Femi Okurounmu; Senator Lee Maeba; Politician and Management Consultant, Chief Cliff Mbagwu; Col Paul Ogbebor, retd; former Health Minister, Professor ABC Nwosu; National Chairman of United Progressives Party, UPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie; Constitutional lawyers, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN and Mike Ahamba, SAN; former FCT Police Commissioner,  Lawrence Alobi; a Human Rights Activist, Comrade Liborous Oshoma; and National President, Arewa Youth Consultantive Forum, AYCF, Alhaji Shetima Yerima. 

Senate summons Sagay, urges Buhari to caution aides on utterances 

The resolution to summon Sagay was sequel to a point of Order by Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, APC, Kebbi South, who directed the attention of the Senate to a publication in a national newspaper (not Vanguard), said that Sagay described the Senate’s action calling on Buhari to sack Magu in two weeks, ‘’as childish and irresponsible.’’ 

His words: “There is no dispute as to the fact that today, distinguished Senator Na’Allah is a senator. If somebody with the status of Professor Sagay made this comment, it means this Senate is under obligation to invite Itse Sagay to come and name the questionable people that fill this Senate.  It is very important at this stage of our political development. It is very important. I, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, I am not a person of questionable integrity. 
Let me equally say that no senator is of questionable integrity. “For somebody in Itse Sagay’s position to come and call this Senate irresponsible and that senators are childish and are of questionable character, it behoves on this Senate to call on him to appear before the Ethics and Privileges Committee to name the senators that are of questionable character.” Contributing, Senate leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, who also picked holes in Sagay’s comments, urged President Buhari to caution his aides on their utterances so as not to overheat the polity. 

The Senate leader said:  “I believe that if there is anything that this administration needs, it is cordiality, a relationship between the legislature and the executive. It, therefore, behoves every presidential aide, from ministers to the least in the ladder, to behave responsibly to encourage and sustain the very cordial relationship between the National Assembly and the administration. 

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