The All Progressives Congress has denied reports that its Senators flouted the party’s directive to its members in the National Assembly to withdraw co-operation with the Executive until the restoration of law and order in Rivers.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said the reports were borne out of the gross misunderstanding of filibustering as a veritable democratic tool to impede legislation by obstructive tactics.
It said that the slant of the reports, that the APC Senators’ presence and participation at the screening of the service chiefs on Monday represented a rejection of the directive by them, could not have been farther off the mark, as non-cooperation does not mean non-participation.
”We never directed our members in the National Assembly to boycott the chambers’ sessions, whether it is screening of appointees or plenary. What we said is that they should block Executive Bills. In any case, a Senator or an Honourable member can only filibuster when he is in attendance. Fillibuster does not equate to boycott or non-attendance,” APC said.
The party said it was fully aware that its members in the Senate would attend the screening of the military chiefs, ”just as we are sure they will be part of any debate on the issue, and we have no problems with that. After all they were elected to attend the National Assembly sessions and fully participate in its activities. But their contributions will help swing things one way or the other. That is the crux of the matter”.
APC reiterated the propriety of its directive, which it described as pro-people, democratic and aimed at saving Nigeria from sliding into anarchy, saying the directive has already succeeded in dousing the tension in Rivers where those who have been subjected to ceaseless harassment by hoodlums aided and abetted by the police can now stage their rallies in peace.
The party also said its directive will not only benefit APC members but indeed all Nigerians as well as national institutions, including the National Assembly itself, which the President has tried to rubbish by totally ignoring its resolutions calling for the redeployment of Rivers Police Commissioner Joseph Mbu.
”It was the National Assembly that passed the resolutions on the redeployment of Mbu. Members of the PDP, APGA, Labour Party, Accord Party, who are now playing to the gallery just to feather their own nest and place personal interest above national interest, were part of the efforts that culminated in passing the resolutions in both chambers. But the Presidency simply ignored the resolutions, a dangerous trend that will make nonsense of the principle of check and balance in our democratic system and also encourage the President to flout future resolutions.
”In this respect, the National Assembly itself should own and commend our directive, instead of a few exhibitionist legislators rushing to the media to make uninformed comments. As far as we are concerned, we acted rightly in issuing our directive, which is meant to end the impunity in Rivers, save our democracy from descending into anarchy and protect national institutions which are being rubbished and manipulated by the Presidency,” APC said