…Saraki can’t go back to the PDP. We were blind, but now we can see.”
The Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, has justified the emergence of Bukola Saraki as Nigeria’s Senate President and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ike Ekweremadu, emerging as Deputy Senate President because some APC senators did not attend the inauguration.
Mr. Melaye, an APC member who supported the candidacy of Bukola Saraki for Senate President as opposed to the All Progressives Congress’ choice of Ahmed Lawan, made the clarification on an AIT live programme monitored in Lagos on Tuesday.
According to Melaye “Order 10 (1) is clear; the quorum of the Senate shall be one-third of the members of the Senate. One-third of 109 is 38. We had 76 Senators in attendance. The APC is not polarised, the party is not divided, what happened is that many people expressed their interests in the leadership of the National Assembly. Once there is a position, even in the family, different persons will express their interest.
“Interests were expressed, one person must win. We cannot have two senate presidents. Bukola Saraki, a distinguished senator, has emerged. All we are going to do as a party is to embrace him, and we would support him. There is no division in the APC. The wording of the constitution on the issue of quorum is clear, the quorum is one-third. There is no mischief anywhere. The law and the rules are very clear on that.”
Mr. Melaye said if all APC senators were present at the inauguration, they would have voted for the APC contestant for the Deputy Senate President, Senator, Ali Ndume,.
“We lobbied the opposition to get this winning for our great party, because if we didn’t do that, the PDP already had 49 senators and had formed a quorum, so we had to do bargaining. That is what politics is all about, but those who made APC to lose the Deputy Senate Presidency are those who stayed away from the Chamber,” he said, referring to pro-Lawan lawmakers who say they missed the session because they went for a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
“If they had come, we would have won. For you to know that we stood by our party, we nominated Ali Ndume. We who were in the chambers as at the time of the election were 20 APC members and we voted for Ndume as at that time,” he said.
Mr. Ndume polled 20 votes but lost to the incumbent Deputy Senate President, Mr. Ekweremadu, who polled 54 votes.
Melaye also said that “the Senate President is an APC member, also like me. Saraki will be loyal and dedicated to his party. He can’t go back to the PDP. We were blind, but now we can see.”
On the Senators and House of Representative’s getting N9 billion wardrobe allowance next week, Melaye criticised the idea and said he stands by his word that there should be a pay cut in the chambers.
“I stand solidly on what I earlier said about pay cut. There must be a pay cut to Senators and House of Representative members. You can’t be talking about change and this kind of money in this country now when people are hungry. We must be sacrificious. We must show Nigerians that we must sacrifice by allowing a pay cut.”