Senator Abdullahi Adamu on Tuesday defended his activities in the Senate, insisting that his actions are ultimately in the interest of democracy and the country.
Senator Adamu, who was one of the Senators opposed to the amendment of the election sequence by his colleagues, condemned his experience since February 14 when he and some others opposed the decision.
“Since then, there has been a consistent barrage of calumny heaped on my person and my integrity as a ranking senator of the Federal Republic,” the Senator said in a statement on Tuesday.
One of the allegations against him is that he is plotting to destabilise the Senate and cause the change of its leadership. But the Senator said there was no truth in the claim.
“Nothing can be further from the truth,” he said.
“If I was interested in contesting the Senate presidency in 2015, nothing would have stopped me from doing so. I was qualified for the office. This is another naked lie to tarnish my name.”
He warned that the campaign to tarnish his image and punish him would serve no purpose other than to reflect the abuse of power.
“The day we snuff out the right of dissent in and outside the Senate legislative chambers would mark the beginning of our loss of individual and collective rights as Nigerian citizens. May such a day never come,” he said.
Although he insists he has done no wrong, Senator Adamu is not surprised by the developments that have trailed his opposition to the change in election sequence.
He said, “I have also heard what I consider to be rumours to the effect that the Senate plans to suspend me. I hope it is a mere rumour bandied about in the current climate of mutual recrimination. However, I would not be surprised if such an extreme form of punishment is being contemplated by the Senate leadership. In the history of mankind, dissent, as a matter of principle, has always been punished rather than rewarded.”
Adamu, however, said he is unshaken in his commitment and he remains faithful to his oath as a legislator.
Read Full Statement Below:
The public is aware that I have been the subject of vilifications by both the leadership and my distinguished colleagues in the 8th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the past three weeks or so. Various attempts have been made, and are still being made, to impugn my integrity and question my support for the leadership of the Senate and my loyalty to the Senate.
I have thus far refrained from a press war in defence of myself because I am fully aware that a press warfare resolves nothing. In all wars, including a press war, the truth suffers; the public becomes less informed and more confused about the facts and the issues at stake. I have taken some necessary steps within the confines of the Senate to defend myself and re-assure my distinguished colleagues that I remain unshaken in my commitment and faithful to my oath as a legislator on whom the constitution imposes the burden of making laws for the good governance of our dear country.
Inherent in that important constitutional duty is the promotion of peace driven by cordial and mutually beneficial relations between the executive and the legislative arms of government. In my humble view, a strained relationship between the two arms of government would result in the proverbial case of two elephants fighting and trampling the grass under their heavy feet. In this case, unless the executive and the legislature act in tandem, good governance would become unattainable. And of course, the weal and the welfare of the people would suffer grievously.
I am now forced to respond to some of the barefaced lies and the nasty allegations against me because the public has the right to know the facts. My objective is to properly educate the public on my ‘crime’ or ‘crimes.’ It is important for the public to know that I have committed no crime against the Senate and/or its leadership. I have done nothing to bring the revered upper legislative house to ridicule intentionally or inadvertently. My only crime that is considered heinous by the leadership of the Senate, is this:
On….I stood up on the floor of the Senate in a raucous plenary session to caution against the increasing show of disrespect to the person and the office of the President of the Federal Republic. I feared that this was becoming a pattern. I thought this was against the culture of the legislature and we needed to pull back in order to maintain mutual respect between the executive and the legislature. The national assembly is the second arm of this administration. We cannot undermine the executive without undermining the government of which we are a part.
I did not think this was a crime but it turned out I was wrong. To show their displeasure with my stand, my colleagues acted in a manner as to impugn my integrity. First, there was the tendentious story put out in a press statement from the Senate to the effect that I had been unceremoniously removed as chairman of the Northern Senators Forum and that Senator Wamakko had replaced me. I did not bother to respond to the concocted lies because the forum has a system of changing its leadership. Its affairs are not conducted in press statements emanating from strange and unauthorised persons.
But since then, there has been a consistent barrage of calumny heaped on my person and my integrity as a ranking senator of the Federal Republic. Part of my crime is my stand on the amendment to the electoral act. In that controversial amendment, the Senate seeks to change the order of elections decided by the electoral umpire, INEC, for the 2019 general elections. I and some of my colleagues were opposed to this amendment on the grounds that it is not the duty of the Senate to determine the order of elections. It had never been part of the electoral act and there is no need to deny the commission the right to do its duty as it deems fit. Happily, I am not alone in taking this stand. At least…..of my colleagues are opposed to it too. We addressed a press conference to that effect. Our intention was not to insult the Senate but to register our principled stand on a matter that concerns all Nigerians.
I believe we need to retrace our steps and reconsider our stand as legislators on matters of public interest. Our party, APC, has the majority in both chambers of the National Assembly, yet we hold the executive prisoner of politics that are unhealthy for the polity. It is such a terrible irony that we sabotage our own government by refusing to do our part in support of the executive. Appointments requiring Senate approval are held up. The consequence is that the public has nicknamed the president and his administration go-slow. The people gave us the mandate as a party to deliver. With our control of the executive and the national assembly, there is no reason why the government cannot acquit itself and fulfil the yearnings of the people. Perhaps, while we are consumed with sabotaging the administration and stabbing one another in the back, we forget that in less than a year from now, we shall be required to seek the people’s revalidation of our mandate to sit in these hallowed chambers. What shall we tell them?
I have heard some strange allegations to the effect that my objective is to cause a change in the Senate leadership in order to take over. Nothing can be further from the truth. If I was interested in contesting the Senate presidency in 2015, nothing would have stopped me from doing so. I was qualified for the office. This is another naked lie to tarnish my name. Let me caution that this smear campaign against me is neither in the interest of the Senate nor of the senators. The day we snuff out the right of dissent in and outside the Senate legislative chambers would mark the beginning of our loss of individual and collective rights as Nigerian citizens. May such a day never come.
I have also heard what I consider to be rumours to the effect that the Senate plans to suspend me. I hope it is a mere rumour bandied about in the current climate of mutual recrimination. However, I would not be surprised if such an extreme form of punishment is being contemplated by the Senate leadership. In the history of mankind, dissent, as a matter of principle, has always been punished rather than rewarded.
If the intention is to gag me or intimidate me, I am afraid it would not be worth the effort. Neither adversary nor adversity can force me to abandon my resolve as a matter of personal honour and principle to always speak the truth and defend the truth. It is not in my nature to see what I consider to be wrong and either keep quiet or pretend that it is not my concern. Whatever affects the interests of this administration is my concern because as a senator and as a member of the ruling party, I am but a servant of the APC brought into power on the consent of the good people of this country who expect the government to serve, protect and defend their interests. Whatever happens in the hallowed chambers of the Senate is my concern because I cannot abdicate my responsibility to the institution and in doing so, I must not and cannot abandon the path of honour and integrity that I cut for myself in my many years in the service of the people of this country as a politician.
I would caution against the decision, if indeed such a decision is on the cards, to suspend me because it would serve no purpose other than to demonstrate the exercise of power in a manner that results in its abuse. I am in the senate primarily to represent the interest of my people in the South-Western senatorial district of Nasarawa State. My voice is the voice of my people; my stand on critical national issues that agitate us is the stand of my people. To suspend me on the basis of baseless allegations that do not amount to the infraction of Senate rules, is to deny them my voice and my representation. The power to suspend a senator be exercised with a grave sense of responsibility in order to protect the integrity of the Senate as an important democratic institution and of individual senators.
Having said all that, let me make it abundantly clear that as long as I remain in the senate, I would continue to maintain my principled stand on issues. I remain unrepentant about this. That stand includes my inherent right to agree or disagree with my colleagues. After all, legislative chambers throughout the world are duly recognised as the chambers of mutual respect forged through the exercise of the sacred right to either agree to disagree or disagree to agree. It is in the nature of law-making in a democracy.
Let me assure the Senate leadership and my distinguished colleagues that whatever they decide to do to me in the days or weeks ahead would not diminish my respect for them or induce me to be disloyal to the honourable upper legislative chamber. I shall remain a loyal legislator; a loyal member of the government as a lawmaker and a loyal member of the ruling party, APC. I would always abide by my oath to defend the constitution of the Federal Republic.