The Peoples Democratic Party has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of plotting to intimidate and arrest lawmakers-elect who are fighting for the independence of the legislature.
Naija News reports that the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, made the allegation while addressing newsmen at the party’s National Secretariat on Saturday.
Ologunagba said the PDP is aware that the ruling party had become jittery since it made its position known last week on the leadership of the 10th National Assembly.
The PDP spokesman said the party believes in democracy, and recognises the fact that the legislature is an ingredient that is very important and key to the sustenance of democracy.
He said, “Information at our disposal which is 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.”
Ologunagba said the party will continue to fight for the independence of the legislature ahead of the June 13 inauguration of the 10th National Assembly.
He asked members-elect to remain steadfast and ensure that they abide by the law as per the standing rules of both chambers and elect from among themselves their own leadership without undue influence.
The PDP spokesman further called on lawmakers not to forget that Nigerians expect them to hold the parliamentary institution sacred and responsive to the desires of the people.
He added: “The legislature remains the symbol of democracy in a constitutional democracy in the sense that it is regarded as the people’s house where people are elected from all the constituencies in the country as a component of the country to speak for their people.
“We need to emphasize the need for members-elect to remain steadfast and ensure that they abide by law as per the standing rules of both houses and elect from among themselves their own leadership without undue influence.
“We know that the independence of the legislature is a prerequisite for a virile democracy and therefore, our party insists that members-elect in both Houses must be allowed to elect their own leadership.
“It is important to say the National Assembly is the symbol of the sovereignty of the people in a participatory democracy. How do we express that? It is by electing people to represent you at the parliament in both houses and through them you can speak. Whatever decision they are taking is on behalf of the people. The sovereignty resides in the National Assembly.
“Fundamental to this sovereignty is the choice of the presiding officers because that is how you establish that sovereignty.”