As at end of Monday July 23, 2018, Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, had gotten hints of the plot to impeach them on the morning of Tuesday July 24, 2018 and install Senator Ahmed Lawan from Yobe state as the Senate President.
However, unknown to the plotters of the ‘coup’, Saraki and Ekweremadu have become veterans of such political games.They foiled the ‘coup’ and in a counter, effected a change in the composition of the Senate, handing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a majority lead with the defection of 15 All Progressives Congress (APC) senators.
Within two hours after the Senators jumped ship, 33 House of Representatives members also announced that they were dumping the APC, making a total of 48 lawmakers who defected from the ruling APC within hours.
Among those that defected are Senator Lanre Tejuoso (Ogun), ShaabaLafiagi (Kwara), Barnabas Gemade (Benue), Dino Melaye (Kogi), Soji Akanbi (Oyo), Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara), Shitu Ubale(Jigawa), Isa Misau (Bauchi), Sulaiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna), Monsurat Sunmonu (Oyo), Ibrahim Danbaba (Sokoto), Bayero Nafada (Gombe), Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) and Abdulazeez Murtala-Nyako (Adamawa).
Ripples Nigeria gathered that to make the ‘coup’ effective, the Police and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were deployed.
According to findings, the Police was to invite Saraki for an interview over his alleged linkage to the Offa Bank robbery while the EFCC was to bring Ekweremadu in, at the same time, for questioning in an investigation into alleged abuse of office and money laundering by the EFCC against him.
The Police had issued a summon to Saraki on Monday July 23 inviting him for questioning while the EFCC also invited Ekweremadu to come over to its headquarters for questioning. Both were asked to report at different times.
The EFCC letter inviting Ekweremadu for questioning was dated July 24, 2018 and had reference number CR.3000/EFCC/DOPS/VOL. 49/40 and titled ‘Investigation Activities Case of Conspiracy, Abuse of Office And Money Laundering’. It was signed by Mohammed Umar Abba listed as Director of Operations.
While the Police asked Saraki to meet with its investigators at 8am, EFCC asked Ekweremadu to come over at 10am. However, a siege was laid on their residence even before the time they were expected to report.
Insider sources at both agencies told Ripples Nigeria that the plot was to detain the two if they honoured the invitation.
According to the source, Saraki and Ekweremadu were to be detained till evening, to ensure they did not have access to their office while the impeachment was perfected.
To perfect the plot, Senator Lawan and the group of Senators involved, were made to assemble at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel from where they were to be driven in a bus to the Senate to effect the change.
However, the plot failed as Saraki and Ekweremadu played a fast one and gained access to the Senate even while the Police were laying siege at their residences.
Although the police have denied ever officially deploying it’s officials to lay siege on Saraki and Ekeremadu’s residences, our sources at the National Assembly indicated that Policemen were posted to the gate of the National Assembly to ensure that senators loyal to Saraki’s leadership do not gain access, but the senators, including Saraki, however entered the senate using an alternative entrance.
According to our source, the Police was embarrassed when they learnt that Saraki had entered the Senate chambers with loyalists even before the arrival of Senator Lawan and his group.
Saraki’s Response To Police Invitation
The Senate President had in response to the invitation by the Police, dismissed it as “a mere afterthought which is designed to achieve political purpose”.
Abaribe Reacts to Siege On Ekweremadu
Reacting to the siege laid on the residence of the Deputy senate President, Chairman of the Southeast Caucus of the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe said Nigeria was up to a dictatorship that is unprecedented in modern democracy.
Speaking in a statement released shortly after the siege, Abaribe, who himself had been clamped down on by the Buhari administration recently, said: “This dangerous route is unprecedented in modern democracy. It is a sinister plot to throw the country back to the dark age of military dictatorship. Too bad for our unity as a country”.
Abaribe warned that silence in this circumstance, could sound a death knell on the already challenged unity of Nigeria saying “this is the time to speak up against the directorship and tyranny of executive arm of government against the parliament.”
By Femi Qudus….
RipplesNigeria… without borders, without fears