Divided APC Senators Close Ranks, Rally Round Embattled Senate President To Prevent PDP ‘Take Over’

APC Senators; Photo: Premium Times
APC Senators; Photo: Premium Times

The crisis that threatened the smooth take off of the 8th National Assembly finally seems to be over following the rapprochement between some senators of the All Progressives Congress, who opposed the election of Bukola Saraki as Senate President and those in the latter’s camp.

The two camps, though members of the same party, on Tuesday shelved their differences and resolved to work together for the first time since the June 9, 2015 election that tore the ruling party’s senate caucus apart.

The meeting between the group of senators opposed to Saraki, under the aegis of Unity Forum and the pro-Saraki group under the aegis of Like Minds, which took place at the Asokoro, Abuja residence of Senator Aliyu Wamakko, a former governor of Sokoto State, had in attendance 10 senators – five from each of the two camps.

Tuesday’s meeting had in attendance Senators Ahmed Lawan, who was the preferred candidate of the APC leadership for Senate President; Gbenga Ashafa, Kabiru Marafa and Suleiman Hukunyi as part of the Unity Forum’s team.

One the other side, the Like Minds were represented by Danjuma Goje, Wammako, Sani Yerima, Kabiru Gaya and Adamu Aliero.

Speaking exclusively to PREMIUM TIMES at the end of the meeting which ended around 6.50 PM yesterday, Mr. Wammako said the parley was held to end the crisis that hit the APC caucus following Mr. Saraki’s emergence as Senate president.

He said it was high time the senators belonging to the ruling party agreed to work together in the interest of Nigeria and to support President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Effectively the meeting has brought an end to crisis in the Senate between APC Senators who now support the Senate President, Bukola Saraki”, Mr. Wamako said.

Another senator, a member of the Unity Forum, who attended the meeting but asked that his identity not be disclosed, said the meeting had three outcomes and that both sides agreed “to have a united APC caucus”.

According to the senator, the first outcome was a decision that the composition of Senate committees be reviewed to conform with the Standing Rules of the Senate.

He said an upward review of the number of the committees must follow due process as prescribed by Section 60 of the Senate Rules.

The second point, he said, was that committees should also be reconstituted to “favour APC Senators”.

He said it was finally agreed that the APC caucus henceforth be “loyal to our party and be committed to its objectives”.

“The number three point is the supremacy of our party, loyalty to our leaders and support for President Muhammadu Buhari”, he said.

He added that the “the meeting was held in the interest our party and Nigeria”.

Asked if the meeting was held to settle the discord that trailed Saraki’s emergence as Senate president, the senator said, “It is beyond Saraki”, adding that “there is no crisis between us again”.

“This man (Saraki) is in court and anything can happen.

“So APC senators must come together and unite; otherwise, if anything happens to Saraki in the court PDP senators who are very united may take over the Senate.

“And that would be a very great disservice to our party, the President and Nigerians who voted for change.

“So, we are now uniting like PDP senators and are settling our differences”, the senator said.

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