The power play in the Senate, over who succeeds Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, if he is convicted by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), yesterday, took a new twist when one of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senators, Matthew Urhoghide, declared that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will be taught a bitter lesson.
Last week, a PDP Senator from Delta State, Peter Nwaoboshi, boasted that opposition lawmakers were poised to produce Saraki’s replacement in the event he loses his case at the CCT.
But, Senator Urhoghide, who spoke with newsmen in his office in Abuja yesterday, said with the current configuration of the Red Chamber, the PDP stands a better chance of producing Saraki’s replacement.
He alleged the APC was naive by allowing the CCT trial “drag on for too long without any intervention.“
“I see this thing as a misplaced priority. I see it as something strange in our political history. It is a slight on the National Assembly. It is a pity that 109 Senators are not allowed to make their own free choices. What is going on in the court is just drama.
“We in the PDP will support him till the end. Since he became the Senate president, Saraki has been able to dignify the Senate. The turning point has been made. We must be able to choose our presiding officers without anybody interfering. Anybody thinking that they will have a chance of making a replacement choice when they remove Saraki is joking.”
Explaining the current configuration and how PDP may likely produce the next Senate President, Urhoghide said: “The PDP will decide who will be the president.”
At present, PDP has 46 seats while the APC leads with 57 members. Six seats are still up for grabs.
He continues: “Anybody they are thinking of will not succeed. The number has not waned. Saraki is getting more support from Nigerians.
“The APC must not be unmindful of the fact that when we made Saraki Senate President, the PDP had the chance of producing the president. But, the APC is pushing its luck too far…”
Meanwhile, chairman of the APC in Kwara State, Ishola Balogun-Fulani yesterday cleared the air over allegation that Saraki drew his salary from the state government even after the expiration of his tenure in 2011 as governor.
Balogun- Fulani told newsmen in Ilorin, the state capital that Saraki only drew the pension constitutionally approved for him and his erstwhile deputy.
The APC chairman said as the majority leader of the Sixth legislature, he anchored the bill on the approval of pension and gratuity for former governors and their deputies in the state.
He said the Bill went thorough legislative debate and public hearing before it was passed into law.
According to him, the initiation and the eventual passage of the Bill followed the recommendation of Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission( RMFAC) on pension and gratuity for former governors and their deputies.
“They are being naive. With the configuration that we have, the demographics are in our favour if we decide to take over the Senate.
“We need only five people to join us and we will take over the Senate. APC must be mindful of the dangers of removing Saraki.
“Once PDP takes over, the president will find it difficult to have anything passed. They have brought a lot of things that are not OK. But we just overlook some things. Some of the ministerial nominees that were brought were not qualified, but we allowed it to pass.”