The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has described as a “bad mistake”, his decision to summon then senators-elect on the platform of the party to a meeting on the day the 8th National Assembly was inaugurated.
Mr. Odigie-Oyegun, who had his leadership capabilities called to question following the consequence of that move, regretted heeding the advice of some unnamed persons to summon the meeting, which proved costly for the APC.
On the morning of June 9, 2015 when the 8th National Assembly was to be inaugurated sequel to a written proclamation from President Muhammadu Buhari to that effect, 51 senators of the APC converged on the International Conference Centre, ICC, waiting for a truce meeting reportedly called by the party leadership and Buhari.
Unknown to the group of senators under the aegis of Unity Forum, while they waited for the purported meeting with the party leadership and the president, Bukola Saraki and 10 other APC senators, who shunned the truce parley, were busy holding a sitting with all the 47 senators of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in attendance.
The former Kwara State governor was elected unopposed as President of the Senate and Ike Ekweremadu of the PDP, elected as his deputy to the chagrin of the 51 other APC senators and the leadership of the governing party.
The ripple effect of that election is still being felt in Nigeria’s political landscape over a year later with Messrs. Saraki and Ekweremadu scheduled to appear before a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja on Monday alongside the Clerk to the National Assembly at the time, Salisu Maikasuwa and the Senate Clerk, Ben Efeturi, on two-count charge bordering on conspiracy and forgery of the Senate Standing Rules.
Opening up in an interview by Daily Trust published on Sunday, Mr. Odigie-Oyegun revealed that calling the meeting that deprived the 51 APC senators from participating in the June 9, 2015 election for principal officers of the National Assembly was one decision that he regrets.
Responding to the question if he had another opportunity to change one decision he took in the past, the APC chair said: “There are lots of decisions, not just one, some of which are private. If you want to limit it to the recent past, I would say the decision to call the meeting that took place on the day the National Assembly was inaugurated. That was a bad mistake”.
“I was persuaded and I agreed to call that meeting. Had it been it did not take place, we probably won’t have a PDP person there today as the deputy Senate president. The anger within the leadership of the party may not have turned out as strong as it became”, Odigie-Oyegun stated.