The senator representing Zamfara Central on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and prominent member of the Unity Forum, a group of senators, who opposed the emergence of Bukola Saraki as Senate President, Kabiru Marafa, has denied that a meeting held on Tuesday between some members of his group and supporters of Mr. Saraki, sought to canvass support for the latter, who is facing a corruption trial.
Senator Marafa, the self-appointed spokesperson of the anti-Saraki group of senators, said the meeting with the Like Minds (group of senators loyal to Mr. Saraki) was beyond the embattled Senate president and about forging a united APC.
Our correspondent, citing a PREMIUM TIMES report yesterday, quoted the host of the meeting and member of the Like Minds, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, as saying that the meeting, which had in attendance 10 senators – five from each of the two camps – had brought an end to “crisis in the Senate between APC Senators, who now support the Senate President, Bukola Saraki”.
A member of the Unity Forum, who spoke on the condition of anonymity and was part of the meeting too, confirmed the truce, which had some conditions attached to it. One of the conditions was that the Senate committees be reconstituted in favour of APC senators.
However, Mr. Marafa, who last month called on Saraki to step down as Senate president pending the determination of his case at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, said the meeting was not convened to “rally around Saraki” as earlier reported.
“What brought about the meeting at Senator Wamakko’s residence was the realization that we the APC supporters should unite in the interest of our party and the objectives of President Muhammadu Buhari”, Mr. Marafa told PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday.
He said in view of Mr. Saraki’s trial at the CCT, it was imperative for APC senators to unite and bury their differences to forestall a situation where PDP will take over the Senate Presidency should Mr. Saraki lose.
Marafa also confirmed that the meeting agreed that the composition of the committees be reviewed.
“Our committees are illegal; so, it is agreed that they will now be according to the law”, he said.
He also said the issue of members of the Unity Forum who were “disenfranchised” in the composition of the committees would be addressed, adding that “and number three, we should be united and work together as one party because of our party and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari”.
“Burying our differences to work together as one or saying no more crisis with our colleagues who supported Saraki is not same as saying we backed down and rallied around the Senate president at this time”, Mr. Marafa said in reaction to the reports that suggested the senators were now in support of the Senate president.
“That is capable of damaging my reputation and character. I have been receiving calls since morning from everywhere from people asking if we were abandoning the struggle.
“I would have made all the money in the course of this fight. I would have got any committee I wanted. But we have stayed firm. So, why will I now announce rallying around Saraki?
“The meeting is about our party and government, not anybody”, Mr. Marafa said.