The crisis rocking the Nigeria upper legislative chamber took a different dimension yesterday as Senators of the Unity Forum dared anyone planning their suspension to brace for a showdown as Senate reconvenes today.
The Like Minds, a group of Senators loyal to Senate president Bukola Saraki is believed to have concluded plans to suspend seven key members of the Unity Forum at today’s plenary.
According to unconfirmed sources, the charges against senators of the Unity Forum include “nuisance and troublemaking “.
Those rumoured to face Senate sanctions are senators Ahmad Lawan, George Akume, Kabir Marafa, Barnabas Gemade, Suleiman Hunkuyi, Gbenga Ashafa and Abu Ibrahim.
Reacting to their rumoured suspension, spokesman for the Unity Forum, Senator Kabir Marafa, in a text message to our correspondent dared the Like Minds and challenged them to table the matter before the Senate today.
Senator Marafa who simply responded “I hope it is true, let them try it”, added “That is my opinion.”
Later in a telephone conversation, he queried “I said let them try it. Is it possible to suspend a senator? Which rules say it? Which rules say you can suspend a senator?”
Commenting on which of the standing rules that would be used as Senate resumes pleanary today, Marafa said he will also watch to see, but added that he specifically raised the issue on the floor of the senate and got emphatic ruling on that before the senate went on recess.
“I asked him one day, which of the rules in use; he ruled that we use the 2015. That is the one we are using for now until the court will determine whether there was a forgery or not.
“My confusion then was that we cannot have two, so I asked him which one to use and he ruled that we are going to use the one of 2015 and so we would be using the 2015”.
He continued, “So I want them to try it, let them dare it, let them try it. Let them then suspend any senator and we would give to them where they would hinge their reason on”.
On his part, Senator Hunkuyi told our correspondent that “is like asking which senate president will preside over the plenary. I will be there against all odds until the buried truth surfaces”.
Our correspondent gathered further that there is was a meeting at a residence of one of the Like Minds senators over the weekend, in which finishing touches were put to “deal decisively with the erring senators,” a senator from the Northeast, who has established himself as one of the power brokers in the current Senate revealed to our correspondent by saying, “it is a done.
One of the grouses against them is the court case instituted against the senate, which has been declared by the pro-Saraki senators as bringing the red chamber into disrepute and exporting internal affairs, without employing adequate internal mechanisms provided by the standing rules of the senate to address them.
These anti-Saraki senators had few days ago proceeded to the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to declare the inauguration of the 8th Senate as a nullity.
They are also asking the court to declare the Senate Standing Orders 2015 used for Saraki and Ekweremadu’s elections as inoperative, null and lacking in legislative process.
But the senator revealed that their suspension would follow due process. And that means the committee charged with the responsibility of reprimanding erring senators would have been quickly set up.
Further Investigations by our correspondent revealed that a senator from North- Central and a diehard supporter of Saraki and an archetypical opponent of Ahmed Lawan has been penciled down to head the Senate ad- hoc committee on Ethics to do the dirty job.