Nigerian senator sacked by court attends plenary

Nigerian senator sacked by court attends plenary

Despite an order of a Federal High Court (FHC) in Abuja declaring his seat vacant, Atai Aido (PDP, Kogi East), appeared at the Senate plenary on Tuesday.

The FHC had on June 13 ordered his immediate sack and declared his seat vacant.

The court presided by Justice Gabriel Kolawole ruled that Mr Aidoko was wrongly presented as the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after the December 2014 Primaries conducted by the PDP.

Following the presentation of Mr Aidoko as the party’s flag bearer, his challenger, Isaac Alfa, began a legal battle for the nullification of Mr Aidoko’s election.

An appeal court had ordered parties to return to the trial court to allow it determine the rightful owner of the seat, thus rendering the seat vacant.

Mr Aidoko, however, attended plenary Tuesday and reacted to the protest that took place at the main entrance of the National Assembly earlier in the day.

Some members of the Citizens’ Action to Take Back Nigeria (CATBAN) staged the protest to demand the resignation of the Senate President, Bukola Sraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.

The group accused members of the National Assembly of siphoning funds meant for constituency projects in their various senatrorial districts and constituencies. It also frowned against “budget padding” and ‘illegal insertions” in the 2018 budget.

The convener of the group, Ibraheem Garba Wala, also said the leaders of the National Assembly (Saraki and Dogara) lack the moral capacity to hold positions in authority. He demanded that the federal government put an end to allocation of funds for constituency projects.

Barnabas Gemade (APC, North East) raised a point of order with regards to the protest. Mr Gemade asked that the Senate ignore calls for an end to constituency projects stating that it is the only way constituents know that they are being represented by their representatives.

He said the federal government should rather expand the magnitude of the constituency projects.

Contributing to the point of order, Mr Aidoko said the demonstration was another attempt by a group of people to set Nigerians against the National Assembly.

He said anyone inciting Nigerians against the budget is an enemy of Nigeria “and the unfortunate thing is that (they are) the same Nigerians that are being paid one or two thousand naira to protest.”

“They are the same ones who make use of those boreholes but unfortunately they don’t know. Ignorance is the problem of the people that are being used,” he said.

He called on the protesters to channel the money spent on protests to something else.

“It takes about N10 million to organise these protest; renting about 20 buses and about 200 people, doing T-Shirts for them, it would cost per head about N5000 multiply by 200 people about N10 million wasted for nothing.

“It is clear we send a message that this cannot go anywhere. We were asking a protester about what he is protesting for or what does he know about constituency projects. He said they told them that it is money that they gave National Assembly members to go home with,” he said.

He said constituency projects are the most federal character compliant projects of government.

“This constituency project is the only project of government that is evenly distributed, the amount is equal, and the projects are similar. Nobody is shortchanged. So why would someone come against something as noble as this?

“Even funding the constituency project is even a problem. They would fund it 50 per cent, we would have to go and be begging and conversing. The maximum funded is 70 per cent so they even lie to Nigerians that this thing is being funded 100 percent; it is not,” he said.

Efforts made to know Mr Aidoko’s reasons for disobeying court order were unsuccessful as he did not respond to phone calls.

The Senate spokesperson, Sabi Abdullahi, did not also take or return calls to his phone.

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