*Claim Senate, Govs’ accounts to be frozen
*Tough time awaits anti-democratic forces – Saraki
By Ignatius Okorocha
Chairmen of 45 political parties on Thursday stormed the National Assembly to confer with the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on the current crisis plaguing the polity.
They also used the meeting to express their solidarity with the Senate President over his ordeal in the hands of security agents and last Tuesday’s invasion of the National Assembly by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo had sacked the DSS Director-General, Mallam Lawal Daura because he did not get approval to invade the Assembly. Daura was replaced with Matthew Seyiefa, former Director of the Institute of Security Studies (ISS), Abuja.
At the parley with Saraki, the party chairmen alleged plots by the Executive arm of government to freeze the accounts of the Senate President, the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, and select state governors because of their stance on the raging political crisis.
In his intervention, Saraki said that he hoped that the anti-democratic forces had learnt their lessons in the past few days, adding that the National Assembly would continue to follow due process and rule of law in its conducts.
On behalf of the parties, the National Chairman of National Unity Party (NUP), Chief Perry Okpara, said that, “we have it on good authority that there are moles in the Senate and there are moves to freeze the accounts of the Senate, the Senate President and some state governors.”
Already, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has frozen the counts of the Benue and Akwa Ibom state governments over alleged sharp practices. The two states are controlled by the opposition Peoples Democratic Parties (PDP).
Okpara also alleged renewed plots to overthrow the leadership of the National Assembly, claiming that it was designed to cripple the parliament.
He said: “We wish to alert Nigerians of a new plot by the same people, whose first shameful attempt to unlawfully overthrow the leadership of the National Assembly failed; an attempt, which brought Nigeria to bad international limelight.
“We have it on good authority that a fresh plot is being hatched to make another attempt to cripple the parliament in the guise of impeachment, even when they know that there is no constitutional majority to achieve the sinister move.
“We wish to state that we, the chairmen and leaders of political parties, will not support or stand by to watch any unconstitutional impeachment of the leadership of the National Assembly”.
Okpara, who didn’t mention the names of the people or agencies plotting to freeze the accounts, however said that the political parties would not watch the country slide into anarchy,” where life has become short, brutish and lawless.”
He said: “Nigeria is gradually turning into a failed state and all the institutions of state have been compromised and desecrated. This is the time to rise in defence of democratic values and nationhood.”
The parties condemned the use of the Police, the DSS and the EFCC to clamp down on the opposition, the leadership of the National Assembly, and also to lay siege on state assemblies and state governments.
Okpara said: “Today, our country is facing the challenges of pervasive insecurity, massive joblessness and unemployment, ethnic irredentism and disunity. We enjoin the National Assembly to use its constitutionally guaranteed powers to legislate to arrest the slide; to give the country a new direction and create hope for our country men and women.”
He, however disassociated the political parties from alleged attempt by Accord Party (AP) to put paid to the constitutional powers of the National Assembly to determine the sequence of elections.
He said: “We note that the courts have rejected attempts by the Accord Party to undermine the constitutional powers of the National Assembly to undermine the sequence of elections. We, majority of the political parties disassociate ourselves from that inglorious attempt.”
In his remark, Saraki expressed the resolve of the NASS leadership to defend democracy in the country.
The Senate President further said: “It is our hope that those anti-democratic forces have learnt their lesson in the last few days, to listen to the voice of Nigerians – men, women, boys and girls – all across the country, who stood firmly to reject their unconstitutional and anti-democratic action.
“Their voice is loud and clear. I believe we must respect it. We must respect those that have made sacrifices for us to be here.
“Some have paid the ultimate price and we must respect that and ensure that Nigeria, as a country, is a shining example for other democratic nations to emulate. We must not allow anything that will tarnish the image of this country and the democracy we have worked so hard to birth and sustain,” he stated.
The political parties that were present at the meeting included the United Democratic Party (UDP), Rebuild Nigeria Party (RNP), People for Democratic Change (PDC), Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Progressives Peoples Party (PPP), Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN), Alliance for Democracy (AD), Young Democratic Party (YDP) among others.