A civil group, Legal Minds for Good Governance Initiative (LMGGi) has condemned Senator Bukola Saraki for ordering the immediate disbandment of a group, Parliamentary Support Group formed in March by pro-Buhari Senators, after a face-off with their colleagues on the amendment to the electoral act.
The group in a statement by its convener, Festus Ogun, described the actions of the Senate President as wrong, unwarranted and uncalled for in a democracy. He decried that the move violates the constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and association.
He said “the disbandment first of all is wrong, shameful, illegal and should be wholly condemned. The rights of the pro-Buhari Senators to freedom of association by way of forming the group is utterly disrespected by move of the Senate President. Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution, at least, provides for the pro-Buhari Senators to assemble freely and associate with other persons for the protection of their interests.
“Yes, it is understandable that virtually all Nigerians are against the aspiration of President Buhari owing to his woeful performance, but that should not deprive his supporters in the Senate the right to form a group in his support. It is high time we became tolerant of divergent views in our polity. Political differences should not be an opportunity to disrespect the provisions of our laws and tactically silence opposing views.”
Ogun however explained that the group is only interested in political tolerance and predominance of rule of law among the ruling class of the country and not in any way supporting the cause of the Parliamentary Support Group.
In his words “we need to put it straight that we are not in support of either Buhari or his men at the Senate. We are only interested in saying it the way it is. Just because Senator Bukola Saraki and his caucus at the Senate is allegedly observed not to be in support of President Buhari’s aspiration, disbanding a group in support of Buhari by Saraki shows how intolerant the leader of the Senate can be. It is unacceptable.”
He thereby enjoined Sen. Saraki to lift the ban on thr group “for the interest of rule of law and our democracy”.