APC govs wade into N/As­sem­bly cri­sis

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Isi­aka Wak­ili, Hamza Idris & Muideen Olaniyi

State gov­er­nors of the rul­ing All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) have waded into the Pres­i­dency/ National As­sem­bly face­off over lead­er­ship of the leg­is­la­ture.

The feud has lin­gered for more than a year now since the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) won con­trol of the National As­sem­bly and the pres­i­dency in the April 28, 2015 gen­eral elec­tions

But the National As­sem­bly has en­joyed lit­tle peace since the elec­tion of Bukola Saraki as Senate Pres­i­dent and Yakubu Dog­ara as House Speaker.

Both Saraki and Dog­ara broke ranks with the party to con­test the elec­tions in both cham­bers and they won ma­jorly with the back­ing of mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion PDP.

Af­ter a two-hour meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari yes­ter­day at the Aso Rock Pres­i­den­tial Villa, Abuja, the chairman of the Pro­gres­sive Gov­er­nors Fo­rum, Rochas Oko­rocha of Imo State, said the fo­rum was con­cerned about the cri­sis in the par­lia­ment.

“We are con­cerned about the in­ces­sant hap­pen­ings in

the National As­sem­bly, and we have taken it upon our­selves to look into the mat­ter,” Oko­rocha said.

Govs aims at en­dur­ing truce

Cred­i­ble sources close to yes­ter­day’s meet­ing be­tween Pres­i­dent Buhari and APC gov­er­nors on how to re­solve the National As­sem­bly im­passe said it’s go­ing to be a long process be­cause the aim was “to have an en­dur­ing truce.”

One of the sources, who is close to a lead­ing APC gover­nor from the North, said, “From what I gath­ered, the gov­er­nors are try­ing to get a mid­dle ground so that the pro­tracted cri­sis that is creep­ing into the sec­ond year can be re­solved.

“Both the pres­i­dent and the Senate lead­er­ship would shift ground; there would be com­pro­mise and sac­ri­fice. Specif­i­cally, the pres­i­dent had noted that party supremacy must be re­spected, mean­ing, the Senate pres­i­dent must go back to square one and abide by the rec­om­men­da­tion of the party be­fore the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the 8th As­sem­bly.

“Please try and get me right, I’m not saying that the pres­i­dent said Senate Pres­i­dent Bukola Saraki must re­sign or not; this po­si­tion is left for the out­come of the on-go­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions and the gov­er­nors are be­ing cir­cum­spect in divulging some in­for­ma­tion to the me­dia, so as not to jeop­ar­dize the process.

“But re­mem­ber, the APC ab ini­tio gave a list of names of those they wanted as pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers of the two cham­bers,” he said.

An­other source said dur­ing a re­cent meet­ing be­tween the APC gov­er­nors and the pres­i­dent, which was not made known to the me­dia, it was agreed that Saraki would reshuffle the Senate stand­ing com­mit­tees in or­der to ac­com­mo­date some of the pre­ferred can­di­dates of the APC and by ex­ten­sion, the pres­i­dent.

“That was what prompted the re­cent change in the Senate but more is on the way,” he said.

An­other source said on the other hand, Pres­i­dent Buhari is ex­pected to in­ter­vene and “soften” the prose­cu­tion of Saraki both at the Court of Con­duct Tri­bunal and the nor­mal court, where he is be­ing tried along­side his deputy, Ike Ek­w­ere­madu and oth­ers, over doc­tor­ing of the Senate rules.

Meet­ing not sur­pris­ingAPC

Both the national chairman of the APC, John OdigieOye­gun and the national sec­re­tary, Mai Mala Buni have trav­elled to the United States.

How­ever, the vice chairman of the APC for the North-West, Al­haji Inuwa Ab­dulka­dir, said yes­ter­day’s meet­ing was not sur­pris­ing.

He said both the pres­i­dent and the gov­er­nors rose to their var­i­ous po­si­tions on the plat­form of the APC, and there­fore, they could not fold their arms when there is a prob­lem.

Asked whether it was the party that asked the gov­er­nors to meet Pres­i­dent Buhari, Ab­dulka­dir said, “In democ­racy, var­i­ous com­po­nents have their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and those in ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions, such as the gov­er­nors and the pres­i­dent are fully aware of this.

“We must keep our house in or­der and as you’re aware, we are also do­ing our bid­ding at the party level.”

How the cri­sis started

Af­ter the 2015 gen­eral elec­tions gave the APC vic­tory, cri­sis erupted in the build up to the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the 8th As­sem­bly.

Ini­tially, the new rul­ing party, headed by Oye­gun, had ap­proached the Pres­i­dent re­quest­ing that he should nom­i­nate those he felt should lead the two cham­bers of the As­sem­bly.

He, how­ever, re­port­edly told the party lead­er­ship that he did not want to in­ter­fere with the af­fairs of the National As­sem­bly, saying each arm of the gov­ern­ment should op­er­ate in­de­pen­dently.

As the in­au­gu­ra­tion drew nearer, the APC showed pref­er­ence for Sen­a­tor Ahmed Lawan from Yobe State, as its pre­ferred can­di­date.

How­ever, on the day of the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the National As­sem­bly, the APC lead­er­ship called its leg­is­la­tors for a meet­ing at the In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence Cen­tre.

The elec­tion went on while APC leg­is­la­tors were awayand Saraki, who did not hon­our the in­vi­ta­tion found his way to emerge as the Senate pres­i­dent.

On the other hand, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives elected Yakubu Dog­ara Speaker which is also against the party’s pre­ferred can­di­dates, Femi Gba­jabi­amila.

That was the be­gin­ning of the prob­lem

An at­tempt to re­solve the is­sue was also re­buffed by the lead­er­ship of the National As­sem­bly as the list of other prin­ci­pal of­fi­cers sub­mit­ted by the party was dis­missed.

The Senate list had Ma­jor­ity Leader as Sen­a­tor Ahmed Lawan, (North East); Chief Whip: Sen. Prof Sola Adey­eye (South West); Deputy Ma­jor­ity Leader: Sen. Dr Ge­orge Akume (North Cen­tral); Deputy Chief Whip: Sen. Abu Ibrahim (North West).

The list for the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives had: House Leader: Hon. Femi Gba­jabi­amila (South West); Deputy House Leader: Hon. Al­has­san Ado Doguwa (North West); Chief Whip: Hon. M.T. Monguno (North East); Deputy Chief Whip: Hon. Pally Iri­ase (South South).

But af­ter a long de­lay in the con­sti­tu­tion of prin­ci­pal of­fi­cers, Saraki re­jected the party’s list and named Ali Ndume, Senate Leader; Sen. Olu­sola Adey­eye, Chief Whip; Fran­cis Alimikhena, Deputy Whip; and Bala Na’Al­lah, Deputy Senate Leader in de­fi­ance of the APC NWC. He left out Lawan, Akume and Ibrahim.

Dog­ara, who ini­tially re­jected the party’s list of the choice of the prin­ci­pal po­si­tions, cit­ing Fed­eral Char­ac­ter prin­ci­ple, later suc­cumbed. He adopted the list with slight change. He fi­nally ac­cepted Gba­jabi­amila as House Leader af­ter pres­sure. Dog­ara also set­tled for Ado Garba Al­has­san as Chief Whip in­stead of Deputy Ma­jor­ity Leader. Rep Iri­ase got the po­si­tion of Deputy Chief Whip as sug­gested by the party, while Rep Umar Buba Jib­ril took the po­si­tion of Deputy Ma­jor­ity Leader against the party’s di­rec­tive.

But the for­mula adopted in the House doused ten­sion con­trary to what hap­pened in the Senate, where the war­ring fac­tions had failed to ob­serve a cease­fire amid senate rule forgery case brought against Senate Pres­i­dent Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ek­w­ere­madu.

Photo: Felix Onig­binde

Gov­er­nors of the All Pro­gres­sives Congress af­ter their meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Muham­m­madu Buhari at the Pres­i­den­tial Villa in Abuja yes­ter­day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.