President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari and the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, started the week against the backdrop of a heated verbal exchange, in the wake of the arraignment in court of the senate president and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, for alleged forgery of the rules of the upper legislative chamber.
Saraki, who is facing trial alongside Ekweremadu, for alleged conspiracy and forgery of Senate Standing Rules with which the Senate presiding officers were elected and inaugurated on June 9, 2015, had accused the Executive of being the architect of his travails.
Also charged were the former Clerk to the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa and his deputy, Ben Efeturi.
A statement signed personally by Saraki stated that the charges of forgery pressed against him and other alleged conspirators represented “another phase in the relentless persecution of the leadership of the Senate.”
He said: “a government within the government of President Buhari, which has seized the apparatus of Executive powers to pursue a nefarious agenda”.
“This misguided action by the Attorney General begs the question, how does this promote the public interest and benefit the nation?”.
“At a time when the whole of government should be working together to meet Nigeria’s many challenges, we are once again distracted by the Executive Branch’s inability to move beyond a leadership election among Senate peers. It was not an election of Senate peers and Executive Branch participants.”
However, the presidency, who appears not in the mood to condone with any allegation, faulted Saraki over his claim that a cabal has hijacked the government.
Buhari, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said the allegation was a mere invention of Saraki and “is not even worth the paper on which it was written, as anybody can wake from a troubled sleep, and say anything”.
He issued a statement, saying: “This claim by Senator Saraki would have been more worth the while, if it had been backed with more information. If he had proceeded to identify those who constitute the ‘government within the government’, it would have taken the issue beyond the realm of fiction and mere conjecture.
“But as it stands, the allegation is not even worth the paper on which it was written, as anybody can wake from a troubled sleep and say anything.
“The Attorney-General of the Federation is the Chief Law Officer of the state. It is within his constitutional powers to determine who has infringed upon the law, and who has not.
“Pretending to carry an imaginary cross is mere obfuscation, if, indeed, a criminal act has been committed. But we leave the courts to judge.”