While Nigeria’s Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo was away in Ethiopia yesterday, the members of the upper legislative chamber had a field day.
In what has been described by Nigerians as a “coup attempt”, the Senator representing Abia South, Enyinnaya Abaribe raised an order signifying a vacuum in government. “I simply want to bring to the attention of this chamber and all Nigerians and to ask the question, the acting president is the person who is at the head of government now, but we have a serious problem in Nigeria today. We have nobody in Nigeria who is at the head of the government…,”Abaribe said.
Abaribe’s ludicrous order was an attempt to declare Bukola Saraki as Acting President in the brief absence of Yemi Osinbajo who was handed the power to perform the functions of the office of the President in May when President Buhari left the country on his medical vacation.
Although Senate President Bukola Saraki’s response to Abaribe’s order which unsurprisingly was supported a large proportion of the House was one that signaled “dead on arrival”, there was an underlying message that should not be ignored.
Saraki said, “He came under order 53 (4). This matter senator Abaribe brought out, as eloquently as being delivered is not in one with the discussion that we have now. So, we can have another day for that if need be. But according to our rules, it is not in line with our discussion. I have no choice but to rule the matter out of order.”
From his submission, it is clear Saraki toyed with the idea when it was raised or may have toyed with it long before Abaribe offered himself a mouthpiece. “It is not in line with our discussion now” may as well read as “Bright idea, eloquently delivered. It will be done but the time is not now”.
Saraki is at war with the Executive, no doubt. His victory at the CCT trial is being challenged by the Federal Government in an appeal and he stated only a week ago that some people in the government are trying desperately to pull him down. Saraki is not sitting back to watch events play out, he is tweaking every detail in his favour.
The short play Nigerians witnessed on the Senate floor yesterday is a testament to this. “We can have another day for that if need be” were Saraki’s words. Nigerians better be prepared. Another day soon come!
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