Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, a lawyer, was the political adviser to former Delta State Governor James Ibori and the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state. He currently represents Delta North in the Senate.
In this interview, he speaks on how Senator Bukola Saraki emerged as Senate President and the alleged forged 2015 Ruling of the parliament, among other issues.
How are you settling down as a senator especially as you are coming from the other side of the divide?
I have a mission. When I was asking my people to vote for me, I believed I was sufficiently equipped to represent them at the Senate having served at various levels in the executive arm of government and party hierarchy. I was a member of Unity Party of Nigeria, Awolowo group, where I was the state youth leader. I formed the UPN youth wing in Bendel State. I was the political secretary to Prof Ambrose Ali, the then governor of Bendel State. I was the first secretary of the PDP in Delta State.
Later I became the political adviser to Governor Ibori and then his commissioner for agriculture, and, as time went on, his commissioner for special duties in charge of Abuja. So I have been both in the executive and in the party hierarchy , but I have never been in the legislature. So, basically, this is my first time.
I have a mission for my people and I am able to cope because of my legal background. As a lawyer of over 25years standing and also a student of history, I have been in active politics for over 35years. So the Senate is a very familiar terrain for me.
Did you envisage the turbulence in the Senate prior to your coming here?
Any politician who says he did not expect what happened on the 9th of June is not worth his onion. In a situation where the two parties are almost equal and you see more than one contestant coming from a political party, you would expect certain things to happen.
First, you call us opposition party, and I keep on saying the APC mismanaged the issue. You are telling an opposition party, ‘this is where I am going’, you want the opposition party to join you? It is a simple logic. You saw two people contesting and you say, ‘okay I am supporting this,’ and you call the other person the opposition, what do you expect the opposition to do? You call us opposition party; so, ordinarily, what you should expect is that the opposition party would go to the other side and vote. But for some of us who believe in integrity and also in order to keep our names, the PDP would have taken the Senate President and the Deputy Senate President on that day and nothing would have happened.
We had 49 Senators at the inauguration, they had about 20; the quorum is one third, the Constitution is very clear on that. What is the quorum? Go and read the Constitution. Forget about Senate Rule, which is not the ground norm. The Constitution is the ground norm; we had formed the quorum and by the quorum which we had formed which is one third, and the Constitution says any law, that is inconsistent with any provision of the Constitution, shall, to the extent of its inconsistency, be declared null and void, we could have taken the Senate President.
There was already a quorum, there was already a proclamation by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as provided for by the Constitution and the proclamation did not just proclaim the National Assembly, it said by 10am, it was timed. The President did not withdraw the proclamation. And so, if we had decided to vote that day, we would have got the Senate President, we would have also got the Deputy Senate President and there is nothing you can do because, to remove them, you need two third.
And all we needed to do was sit down, share everything in the Senate among the 49 of us and then come to the Senate thereafter and wait for you to do whatever you want to do; and the truth is that you cannot do anything. By now, APC would not be talking, they would not be making all the noise they are making. I know many of my friends who are now regretting that we could have done it. We had the opportunity, but we said ‘just take’ and instead of them thanking us, somebody is saying ‘they forged the Senate Rule’. What is forgery? Where is the original document? You must have an original document to forge another.
I just read some lawyers talking. I don’t know where they read their law. Where is the original document of the Senate Rule 2015 that was forged? If you started a bill today in the 7th Senate and you cannot complete it before the expiration of the Assembly, you will start denovo. Everything in the 7th Senate is gone, we start denovo; which means we can now regulate our proceedings by the virtue of Section 60 to start that bill the way we want to pass it. You are talking about forgery. Where is the original document that was forged? You are talking about two thousand and something rule, of what Assembly? I have asked people about the original that was forged. Where is the 2015 Rule that was forged? You must have an original document. If you say my certificate was forged, it means I have a certificate, but you now forged it. I was asking my friend, Senator Marafa, he said there is no rule, but you are in court to squash a rule. If there is no rule, why did you go to court? What is your prayer in court?
There was an issue raised by one of the senators, that there was an error in the 2015 Senate Rule, but that when they discovered it, they went and produced another one correcting that error.
When the PDP was in the majority in the National Assembly, we heard about party supremacy which was observed in breach and sometimes followed to the letter. Now APC is insisting on the the supremacy of the party and PDP is somehow thwarting that.
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