President Muhammadu Buhari and the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, on Monday started an open war of words following the arraignment in court of the senate president and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, for alleged forgery of the rules of the upper legislative chamber.
Senate President Bukola Saraki said in a statement after his arraignment that there had been some forces who had hijacked the apparatus of Mr. Buhari’s executive power to pursue “nefarious agenda”.
“This misguided action by the Attorney General begs the question, how does this promote the public interest and benefit the nation?” he said.
“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.”
In his reaction, Mr. Buhari said he regarded Mr. Saraki’s claim of a “government within government” as nothing but calling him a stooge.
“This claim by Senator Saraki would have been more worth the while, if it had been backed with more information,” the president said in a statement entitled “Saraki and the Cabal,” by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
“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.”
Stating that the Attorney-General of the Federation is the Chief Law Officer of the state, the statement said it was within his constitutional powers to determine who had infringed upon the law, and who had 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.
Saraki and Ekweremadu were being prosecuted for alleged conspiracy and forgery of Senate Standing Rules with which the duo ascended the leadership position of the senate on June 9, 2015.
Also charged were the former Clerk to the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa and his deputy, Ben Efeturi.
All four were granted bail by Justice Yusuf Haliru of the FCT High Court after meeting the conditions.