Senate President David Mark yesterday described the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, and Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, as fifth columnists working at cross purposes with President Goodluck Jonathan.
Mark was reacting to a motion on alleged inflammatory statements against the National Assembly by ministers and aides of the President.
The motion was sponsored by Deputy Majority Leader Abdul Ningi (Bauchi Central).
Earlier this month, the Senate had descended on Minister of Information Labaran Maku for saying resolutions of the National Assembly were not binding on the President.
Maku was invited by the Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe-led Senate Committee on Information to explain himself.
Maku recognised that he might have misfired and apologised to the Senate.
Ningi, in the motion, entitled: Inflammatory statements against the National Assembly by ministers and aides of the President, said he observed with dismay the regular attacks on the legislature by ministers and aides of the President.
He said he was also “scandalised by the most recent one” in which the Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak “threw all caution to the wind when he remarked that members of the National Assembly were “talking like illiterates” by saying that the President had failed to give assent to Bills passed by the legislature.
He said he was provoked that Gulak also stated that the National Assembly was “passing laws that were not implementable.”
The lawmaker, however, said he was confident that those statements did not reflect the views of President Jonathan on the matter.
In their contributions, Senators Ike Ekweremadu, Victor Ndoma-Egba, Ali Ndume, James Manager, Smart Adeyemi, Awaisu Kuta, Shola Adeyeye and others condemned the statements attributed to the Presidential aides saying they were a direct affront on the integrity of the National Assembly.
Mark noted that it was sad that presidential aides are leading Jonathan on a collision course with the National Assembly.
He said: “We all feel very hurt and very bad about it. And we say this against the backdrop that the President as a person is a gentleman. Nobody can fault him.
“They are clearly not on the same wavelength with the President. I am surprised that neither Doyin nor Gulak has retracted the statements that are attributed to them by the media. Certainly, they are operating on their own.
“I think Victor hit it squarely on the head by saying they are fifth columnists who don’t want the President to succeed.
“But on the other hand we will not allow detractors to force us away from the course that we set our radar. We mean well for this country.”
Special Adviser to President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Joy Emodi, yesterday dissociated President Goodluck Jonathan from disparaging statements credited to some Presidential aides against the National Assembly.
Mrs Emodi in a statement noted that the alleged unguarded comments by the Presidential aides neither reflected the views of President Jonathan on the National Assembly nor the enormous respect he has for the institution.
“Let me state categorically that the alleged statements neither reflect the views of the President, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on the National Assembly nor the enormous respect he has for the institution and the cordial relationship he has encouraged between the Executive and the Legislature.
“In other words, those to whom the statements were credited were on their own and never spoke the mind of the President.