Punch reveals that there are strong indications that the All Progressives Congress is insisting on the removal of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu. It was reliably gathered on Saturday that although the APC was happy with the appointments, which the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, made in the committees of the upper chamber on Thursday, the party believed that for the peace process to complete, Ekweremadu must resign or be removed.
Saraki became the senate president in June last year against the wish of the APC, which supported the emergence of Senator Ahmed Lawan. The former Kwara State governor emerged as the senate president with the support of the his loyalists under the aegis of Like-Mind Senators comprising members of the Peoples Democratic Party in the upper chamber and most of their colleagues in the APC.
It was reported last year that one of the conditions that the PDP gave to Saraki was to concede the deputy senate president seat to one of its members. The senate president defied the APC when he ensured that his loyalists, except Senator Sola Adeyeye (Chief Whip) became the principal officers. But on Thursday, Saraki began a peace move when he reshuffled senate panels and appointed his critics in the Senate Unity Forum as heads of “juicy committees.”
For example, the spokesman of the SUF, Senator Kabiru Marafa, became the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), while Senator Oluremi Tinubu was appointed the Chairperson of the Committee on the Environment. A chief of the APC, who pleaded anonymity, confided in Sunday PUNCH on Saturday, that although Saraki’s action was a right step in the right direction, he should do more.
He said the APC was not comfortable with Ekweremadu as the deputy senate president and Saraki should look for a way of “getting him out.” He said that besides being a PDP member, the deputy senate president had not hidden his disdain for the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. The party chieftain stated:
“We are happy with what he (Saraki) did with the committees, but Ekweremadu cannot remain as the deputy senate president. When the PDP was in power, opposition parties did not produce the deputy senate president.”
Another APC leader who spoke on condition of anonymity said:
“What Saraki has done is not enough. Ekweremadu must leave that position.”
When contacted to comment on the claim that the APC was insisting on Ekweremadu’s removal, the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, said, “No comment.” Repeated calls to the mobile telephone number of the party’s National Secretary, Mai Bala Buni, were neither picked nor returned, a response to a text message sent to him was being awaited as of the time of filing this report.