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Saraki’s Election Followed Due Process, Says Ajulo

Ajulo-13-6-15WHAT is your view on the development in the 8th Senate?
Nigeria is covered by the rule of law. Many people call it constitutionalism and what happened on Tuesday, the way I looked at it as a political player and a lawyer, was more of forces of rule of law against the forces of rule of whims and caprices of some people.

It was a battle because a situation where you are so sure that you were being elected and Tuesday happened to be the day you would be inaugurated and you know that the inauguration would be by 10 am, but because some cabals summoned you to a meeting, which as at that 10 am, you were still in that meeting, then you should know that you have a total disregard to constitutional authority, to the rule of our country and even to the inauguration you were supposed to attend.

My joy is that at the end of the day, our constitution was victorious, in the sense that the business of that inauguration still continued and ended well. 

Section 63 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is so clear on how Senate President and the Speaker would emerge. Apart from the fact that it talked about proclamation, Section 63 (3) fully explained that 1/3 is the quorum.

In this regard, not only that a quorum was formed, more than the quorum was formed. 

I want to believe that they knew what would happen. So, staying off was safer to save their faces from imminent defeat.

If they had conducted election with them in the chamber, they would have still been defeated.

And when you look at it very well, after the proclamation, the business of the day would be to choose the Senate President. If you decide on your own accord not to be present, you cannot be seen to complain.

All lovers of this country should applaud what happened on Tuesday.  

What are the implications for democracy? 
The essence or implication of what happened on Tuesday was that rule of law prevailed. The opposite of rule of law is the rule of whims and caprices of some people.

What happened was symbolic. Some people had the opportunity to either follow the law or the whims and caprices of their godfathers and those that followed their godfathers lost out. That was very significant as one of the greatest achievements of our democracy.

Aside the peace we achieved immediately after President Muhammadu Buhari won the election, this is another significant achievement to our democracy.

Does Saraki’s action not amount to party insubordination or anti-party?
If Saraki had decided to obey the party dictate, it means we have used political sentiment or influence to override the constitutionalism of the position of each member of the National Assembly.

The role of parties in our enduring democracy is well spelt out. It is so clear that the party will nominate who will contest elections, but immediately you are elected into office, you are being seen as the representative of the people and not the party.

Then, when it comes to choosing any of the offices, though the party will have a role to play, it will be their internal arrangement and not that you will take the position of the party to override the constitution of Nigeria. 

But Saraki, being smart and intelligent, had lawyers that advised him; he must be somebody that listens to his lawyers, that at the point you are elected as a senator, the roles of your party is only advisory. Your party cannot lord it over you, because at that time, you listen to the people, not that his party will override the people.

What they were trying to do on Tuesday was to use party to override and violate the provisions of the law.

What of the election and place of Ekweremadu in the senate leadership?
The question to ask is who nominated him, and apart from that, after nomination, there was always an election.

If nobody as at that time could any raise issue on that and ensure that it was well debated and resolution passed on it, I think blaming PDP for taking advantage of that is medicine after death.  

What is your take on the meeting of the party Buhari’s was supposed to attend relating to the issue?
As at now, there is a controversy over who actually summoned that meeting.

First, I believe and I am waiting for Buhari to come out and categorically say that he summoned the meeting. Then, I would like to put it to him that the meeting was ultra vires, even his proclamation.

If you have to proclaim and you state that it would begin by 10 am, why summoning meeting to override it? Assuming the Clerk of National Assembly waited, all of us would have faulted it.

That is the reason I said what happened on Tuesday has the backing of the law.  

How do you see moves by the party to challenge emergence of the principal officers of the national Assembly that day in court?
What they are trying to bring to the public glare is their inordinate ambition.

I quite understand that some of them are threatening to go to court. I will tell them, as a lawyer, that the suit is non-suit in many instances.

APC, as a party, cannot override the National Assembly. APC as a party lacks locus to file any case against anybody in the National Assembly, because when it gets to the National Assembly, it is those in the National Assembly and not Saraki in particular.

APC is a foreigner and it is a meddlesome interlopers and I am sure the court will pronounce them as such. 

Today, Saraki is the President of the Senate and chairman of the National Assembly. As at Wednesday, you could see how they were deceiving themselves.

The same senators were in the senate for Saraki to swear them in. The truth of the matter is that any plan to go to court is a mere threat; they want to use that to negotiate for one office or the other.

Though I listened to two lawyers on Thursday, and with due respect, I was so disappointed at what they were saying. A senior lawyer should not be seen canvassing and urging people to go to court, so that he can take brief, because that was what one of them was saying.

That is very unfortunate and I think the disciplinary committee of the Bar should take note of that. A lawyer should know when to dabble into an issue, not to talk of advising people to go to court. I think he needs to be advised on that.

APC should know its limit and powers when it comes to elected offices. Going to court should be for a serious thing and not for mundane issues.

They should accept that they have failed this time around and that our law prevailed and allow Nigeria to move forward.

Nigerians are expecting a vibrant lawmaking process and not a fight over inordinate ambition.

What is the way forward?
For peace and stability to reign, Senator Ahmed Lawan and his group should accept the outcome of the election and take solace in the fact that former President Goodluck Jonathan started these peace moves by relinquishing power even before Buhari was declared the victor.

All I need to let them know is that there should be peace. This is the issue of sharing of offices. I do not think we need to lose our heads over that.

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