The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of intimidating the new lawmakers into accepting its position on the leadership of the National Assembly.
The APC National Working Committee (NWC) had last month nominated the former Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, and the senator representing Kano North, Barau Jibrin, as Senate president and deputy respectively.
The party also nominated the lawmaker representing Zaria Federal Constituency of Kaduna State, Tajudeen Abbas, and the current spokesman of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, as speaker and deputy.
However, the decision did not sit well with some members of the party, including the former Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, and the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, who have vowed to push for the senate president position.
The PDP had also boasted it would take advantage of the significant number of opposition lawmakers in the parliament to influence the choice of leadership for both chambers.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, who addressed journalists on Saturday in Abuja, alleged that the APC was plotting the arrest of the newly elected lawmakers in a bid to force them to tow its position on the matter.
The 10th National Assembly will be inaugurated on Tuesday in Abuja.
Ologunagba said: “Information at our disposal which are verifiable and some of which we got from your report, is that there are attempts by some APC elements to intimidate, harass and threaten lawmakers-elect with a view to influencing the outcome of the election on Tuesday on the floor of both houses as to who emerges the Speaker and the President of the Senate.
“There are reports of harassment to arrest those people who are considered to be strong proponents of the Independence of the legislature and who are at the forefront of the need to respect those standing rules that provide that members-elect should elect their own leadership without any external influence.
“We have these reported actions and plots to arrest such individuals. We as a party that believes in democracy and that had the privilege of midwifing this democracy for 16 years recognises the fact that the legislature is an ingredient that is very important and key to the sustenance of democracy. So, we need to raise an alarm to bring to the fore where the situation is at the moment.”
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