The Peoples Democratic Party said on Monday that the Presidency’s appeal to federal lawmakers to reconvene from recess was mere wish and an attempt to blackmail the National Assembly.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, stated this at a news conference in Abuja.
The presidency on Sunday appealed to the National Assembly to reconvene, saying that urgent matters pending before it might affect the running of the country and matters affecting Nigerians.
The appeal was made by the Senior Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly matters, Senator Ita Enang.
The National Assembly, on July 24, adjourned for its annual recess, to reconvene on September 25.
Some of the pending urgent issues before the adjournment included the approval of a presidential request for virement of N242bn in the 2018 Budget for the 2019 elections.
The amount would be spent by the Independent National Electoral Commission and the security agencies for preparation and execution of the elections.
Ologbondiyan said that what Enang had done was just a mere wish, as he had no power to order or call for the reopening of the parliament, adding that the aide was “just expressing his personal wishes.”
“As a matter of fact, Senator Enang was the Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
“Will he listen to anybody from outside the chamber to come and dictate to the presiding officers?
“It is unfortunate that people who have experience in legislative practices and procedures, when they get to the executive arm, instead of telling the executives the limit of their powers, they pretend to know it all. By so doing, they mislead the executive.
“There are set rules. Section 12 of the Senate Standing Rules puts the opening of the Senate within the purview of President of the Senate and the operational word there is ‘may.’ And, that is if the Senate President is convinced to reopen the Senate.
“We must not allow those who have no respect for laws to take charge of our lives, because what they are plotting to do has a huge capacity to create anarchy for the nation.
“The NASS has only gone for their annual recess and it is within their right to choose when to come back,” he said.
Ologbondiyan added that the attempt at recalling the lawmakers to work was also an effort to subdue the rules and the laws, saying that it was unacceptable.
He also condemned the request by the executive that money meant for projects injected into the 2018 budget should be channeled to fund part of 2019 general elections.
According to him, it is an attempt by the executive to blackmail the national parliament.
“How can the executive predicate funds meant for elections on the proposal for constituency projects?
“How can the presidency sit back and declare that the money meant for 2019 general elections would be based on an amendment of Appropriation Act?
“Why don’t they send a bill for supplementary budget? People like Enang who has spent his life in the NASS has the responsibility to advise the executive on what to do,” he said.
Ologbondiyan also questioned the timing of the request, asking why the executive had to wait until when the NASS was supposed to proceed on annual recess before sending request on election funds to it.
He said it was merely to create unnecessary controversies.
“Is it in July that they understood that we have election for February 2019? Did they not realise that there is a need for INEC to get sensitive and insensitive materials? Was it in July that they discovered that?
“One thing we know for certain is that, whichever game or shenanigans they project, elections will hold in 2019.”
On the trending story that Senate Minority Leader and former Governor of Akwa Ibom was set to defect to the All Progressives Congress, Ologbondiyan said that the PDP was yet to be notified.
“The PDP is not aware of the said defection of any of our members in Alkwa Ibom State because we have not been notified.”
Ologbondiyan said that the PDP had no issues whatsoever with Akpabio.
“Like I said earlier in a programme, the party’s last discussion with Akpabio is that he informed the party that he was traveling to Germany. That was the last discussion.”
On Akpabio’s photograph with President Muhammadu Buhari London trending on the social media, Ologbondiyan said, “Maybe he had a technical stopover like the president did the last time.”