By Vincent Ujumadu
THE senator representing Anambra Central, Chief Victor Umeh has urged Nigerians to allow the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, do its work, saying those arguing that things have become good and therefore no need to continue the tribunal case, did not contest the election.
Vanguard reports that during the Arise News morning show interview on Tuesday, monitored in Awka, Umeh said the country’s laws allow those not satisfied with the outcome of the polls to challenge it, arguing that it is their right to do so.
He said: “The person who contested the presidential election is Mr. Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party and he is in court pursing his petition very vigorously. It is his opinion that will matter and not those who did not contest the presidential election.
“What he is contesting is the process of the election. He is not challenging Tinubu perse, but the process of the election. That is what law says, which is that if you are not satisfied with the outcome of an election, you challenge it in court.
“Many people in the national assembly and the governors are in the various tribunals where their elections are being challenged, just like that of the president is being challenged by the PDP, APM and Labour Party.
“What we are asking for is that there should be no interference in all tiers of government. Let the judiciary do it own work. It is the arbiter on the various elections, so let nobody dictate to them what to do because each arm of government is supposed to be independent.”
On the recently inaugurated national assembly, Umeh, who was elected on the platform of the Labour Party, said nobody would wish the country a rubber stamp legislature, insisting that those who fought against the candidates of the executive during their voting were not against the president.
He added: “During the voting, people considered their zonal and other interests. For me, the soul of the matter is to support any good thing brought by the executive.
“What is clear is that the national assembly now has leadership in both chambers of the senate and House of Representatives. When we were elected, we all came with enthusiasm to perform the constitutionally assigned role to the senate.
Of the 109 senators in the 10th assembly, 8o were freshly elected, while only 29 returned from the 9th senate, which showed the way Nigerians rated the 9th assembly.
The constitution envisages that the three arms of the government should be independent of each other without any interference by the other, but to complement each other.
“We were ready to elect any of us who would stand on the path of the constitution, and defend the senate as an institution.”
He said the zoning and attaching of positions to individuals caused all manner of maneuvering, which made people to start taking sides.
“Many senators felt that the president ought not to have done it the way he did it. He may have interest quite alright, but he needed to be circumspect about it. People who were not happy with the way the announcement was made expressed it. There were cracks even among the APC senators,” he stated.
Umeh recalled that the minority senators were meeting before the inauguration and resolved not to compete for the presiding officers positions so as to ensure peace and concord in the 10th national assembly, adding that even in the House of Representatives where the minority parties are 182 against APCs 178, the opposition parties did not present candidates when they might have won if they came together.
He said further: “What we did was to confine ourselves with the candidates for the various positions in APC. It was deliberate.
“The president called all of us and indicated those he wanted and he went about it the wrong way. And when he pushed aside the constitutional provisions on the issue, he incurred dissenting views of many members as many of them felt that the national assembly ought to have been left to elect their leadership.
“There was no need for anybody to bandy the impression that the leadership not imposed by the president would work against him. It was not true. “What was done was an attempt to choose for the legislature and if that happens, the legislature would not freely carry out its oversight functions. It might be wrong to look at it that way, but that was the signal. The ideal thing is for the three arms of government to be on their different lanes, which is what the constitution envisages. But I am happy that the 10th senate is one that is determined to stand on its own and provide support to the president and service to Nigerians.
“If not the way the whole thing started, nobody would imagine that anybody would oppose ideas brought by the president. We are here to serve Nigerians and we want to be in an position to do that without let or hindrance.”
On senators who have corruption cases against them, Umeh said the law is that nobody should be said to be corrupt unless tried and convicted in the Nigerian court.