Abdulrasheed Maina and Senate President, David Mark
Text of the Press Conference of the Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL) on Tuesday 19th February, 2013.
Compatriots, Gentlemen and Ladies of the Press, permit me to provide the following as quick but general observations of what we have characterised as the Senate and Maina saga.
As you all recall, we first expressed our dismay when this saga started brewing last year. That time, we called attention to what we described “as the creeping abuse and tyranny of the National Assembly’’.
We were dismayed at the way Senator Gaya, at the inaugural public sitting of the Committee he co-chairs, sacked Abdulrasheed Maina as Chairman of the Presidential Task Force Team on Pension.
If the present saga found roots on any particular day, it is on that fateful day of the inaugural sitting of the Committee. Beyond the foregoing, we make bold to state that our position is driven by our commitment to the promoting the Rule of Law and upholding the sanctity of our Constitution.
One point we have consistently emphasized is that performance of public duties, divested of personal or pecuniary interests, must embody commitment to our nation. For emphasis and clarity, public interest must always define and shape the delivery of public services. Our country must embody our public duties.
That said, Gentlemen and Ladies of the Press, we view the on-going faceoff with serious concern. We are concerned that two important institutions in our country are locked in a struggle that looks more as a battle for supremacy.
This shouldn’t be so in a Constitutional democracy. Sadly, it is. For us, we consider the recent call by the Senate for the sacking of Abdulrasheed Maina from the Civil Service inappropriate and unfortunate.
Let the truth be told: consistently, members of the National Assembly forget we operate a Presidential system that limits and delimits the spheres of influence of the three arms of government.
Whilst the constitution serves as a mandatory guide to the operators of the system, it is important our legislators are reminded that Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) only empower them to act within the confines of the investigatory, which includes the power of Summon, the said Constitution guarantees them.
To go beyond their mandatory constitutional powers is to invite anarchy. Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution do not invite our distinguished Senators to overreach themselves, no matter the justice of their cause.
Just as we call for caution in the handling of the Senate and Maina saga, it is important to emphasize the sanctity of our August legislative bodies. Individuals who are summoned to appear before any Committee of our Legislative Houses must accord our legislative bodies respect and reverence.
Abdulrasheed Maina, no matter his grievances, must accord the Senate the respect it deserves. It is impolitic to behave otherwise.
In the light of the foregoing, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, we make the following:
That Abdulrasheed MUST appear before the Senate;
That the Senate MUST rescind the resolution demanding that Abdulrasheed Maina be sacked.
The President must as a matter of urgency institute a panel of Public Inquiry to look into issues arising from the reform and management of our Pension System.
Finally, we publicly give recognition to the stellar work Abdulrasheed Maina and his Presidential Taskforce Team are doing for our Great country.
But for Maina, Alhaji Yakubu Yusufu, who was recently jailed, the disgraced pension thieves would still be walking the earth to our pension pots and stealing with impunity.
Abdul Mahmud, President; Kelvin Okoro, General Secretary
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