Patrick Ekpotu: National Assembly leadership taking Nigerians for granted

Patrick Ekpotu

Patrick Ekpotu, former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom, says the leadership of the national assembly is taking Nigerians for granted by refusing to reconvene and discharge its duties.

Senate President Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives, adjourned plenary in July shortly after the police laid a siege to the residences of the nation’s number three citizen and Ike Ekweremadu, his deputy.

The presidency and the legislative arm have been at loggerheads.

President Muhammadu Buhari had urged the national assembly to reconvene so as to approve N242 billion for the 2019 elections but the lawmakers are yet to.

Ekpotu, in a statement issued on Thursday, described the relationship between the presidency and the lawmakers as “absolutely unhealthy”.

He accused the lawmakers of “exploiting the situation for its political end”, a situation which he says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would not have tolerated for long.

According to him, the leadership of the senate “by this unfortunate development, is not only taking Nigerians who they represent for granted, but also unwittingly working against the same democracy they purportedly claim they are protecting, by exploiting the weaknesses in our democratic institutions just for personal political gains.”

“While rational disagreement could be seen as healthy in politics, differing political and ideological postures between the national Assembly leadership and the presidency is absolutely unhealthy. And I certainly fault the National Assembly leadership and hold them responsible for whatever tension this has generated in the country. The senate leadership is exploiting the situation for its political end. And it is not likely that the PDP government would have tolerated it this long,” Ekpotu said.

“There is a sense in which truth is the end of freedom, and freedom must get defined, and confined to truth. The unnecessary disagreements that make working harmony impossible must be confined to truth.

“We are talking about an APC government with a surreptitious PDP National Assembly leadership first clothe in APC attire before unveiling as full PDP who has established a minority rule in NASS under a majority rule governance system. It throws to the dogs, the democratic syndrome of number and voice in the Senate and by the awkward and crude arrangement, introduces parallel and crippling ideologies to distort the dictate and character of a majority rule democracy.

“Ordinarily, it is not even smart to hold out oneself as being capable of exploiting institutional weaknesses to hold on to office against all known norms but this means nothing to them except electoral victory by any means, which should be discouraged.

“The important national democratic institution of the National Assembly should not be reduced to a mere committee that protect the interest of a few rather than a constitutionally backed institution that ought to put the interest of Nigeria above any other considerations.”

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