Former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State, Engineer Patrick Ekpotu, has berated the National Assembly leadership, especially the Senate for the continued shutdown of the nation’s legislative arm over its lingering face-off with the All Progressives Congress (APC)/ federal government.
Ekpotu, who was a member of the National Assembly Service Commission in former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s government, in a statement in Abuja, on Thursday, September 20, said that 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.”
According to him, “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.
“We are talking about an APC government with a surreptitious PDP National Assembly leadership first clothed in APC attire before unveiling as full PDP, which 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.”
Ekpotu argued, “No sane society accepts one who lays claims to being a democrat without readiness to uphold democratic tenet. Since it’s not only politics but also the nation’s future political development that is at risk, in our age of conformity, he (Saraki) must be prevailed upon to quit the leadership and not wait to be forced out.”
The former deputy governor observed that the “the important national democratic institution of the National Assembly should not be reduced to a mere committee that protects the interest of a few rather than a constitutionally-backed institution that ought to put the interest of Nigeria above any other consideration.”