By Henry Umoru & Salamatu Ismail
ABUJA—AHEAD of the 2011 general elections, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, said, yesterday, that unless a competent court sets aside the amended constitution of 1999, it remained valid and operational.
Ekweremadu who was answering questions from newsmen when he visited the National Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, over last Saturday’s fire incident, said the constitution recently passed by the National Assembly must be respected and obeyed by Nigerians.
He said the constitution has come into force unless there was any other development from the court of law that might render it useless and not operational.
Ekweremadu said: “The amendment is operational.
Until they seek legal interpretation, the amendment has become operational. See, our business is to make laws and once those laws are made, we become what is called ‘functus officio.’
“So the law is operational until it is set aside by the court.
We are not going to worry ourselves about that. As far as we are concerned we have done our job. If anybody thinks otherwise he goes to court and until the court makes pronouncement on it that is law and that is what Nigerians will obey.”
Also yesterday, the Niger State Governor, Mauzu Babangida Aliyu, said the party must be supreme and stronger than any member, adding that governors elected on the platform of the same political party must be seen to be doing the same thing against the backdrop that they were guided by the same manifesto.
Mua’zu Aliyu who was speaking with newsmen at the national secretariat of the PDP, said: “In every developed democracy, the party is the supreme organ. The party is the foundation. The party screens candidates. The party sponsors candidates under its manifesto. If a governor, let’s say from Niger, is doing a good thing, we expect all other PDP governors in other states to be doing the same thing because they have a common denominator. But where there is emptiness or where there is vacuum everybody now begins to do his own thing to the extent that you find people using other people’s manifesto instead of their own.”
On INEC, he said, “they wanted N87 billion and we approved it.
Even though I have reservation about the figure, but we need support them to do a good job. We hope they apply the money appropriately. They brought N89 billion and N87 billion was approved, so that is no problem. But let him finish the N87 billion first before he comes for another one.”
Speaking further, the Deputy Senate President blamed the fire incident at the secretariat on the level of preparedness of the people to respond to emergency situations, said that public buildings should be constructed to withstand unforeseen circumstances such as fire disaster.
He said the fire incident at Wadata Plaza, “calls to question some of the measures we take some times.
If our preparedness is properly addressed, some of these things can be better averted. When people are building houses we should be able to put in place measures to address all these foreseen circumstances.
On the fire incident, the Niger State governor said: “I am happy that it has come but I am not too happy with the fire because it has alerted us to know that everybody must do his job. The labourer who is in charge of making sure that the lights are off should be sure that all the switches are off, that all the air-conditioners are all off. This is what happens in other places - everybody has his own schedule; everybody knows what to do. So, I am happy that we have been baptized and we will not allow it to happen again.”
Also at the Secretariat were Kaduna State governor, Ibrahim Patrick Yakowa, two former national chairmen of PDP, Dr. Ahmadu Ali and Barnabas Gemade.