Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Paul Obi in Abuja; Sheriff Balogun in Abeokuta
Saraki, four others meet with Obasanjo
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Oyegun, on Friday assured that the party was working round the clock to resolve the crisis rocking the APC, “to pave the way for the party to fulfill its campaign promises to Nigerians.”
Also, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki met with the former president Olusegun Obasanjo at his Presidential Hilltop Estate, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
In a statement issued in Abuja, Oyegun said the party had reached out to all interested parties, and that when the National Assembly resumes next week, Nigerians would see one harmonious, happy APC family.
”We owe it to our party, our teeming members and supporters and indeed all Nigerians who reposed so much confidence in us by voting us into office to quickly put the unfortunate incidents of the recent past behind us and forge ahead,” he said.
The APC Chairman has also risen to the defence of the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who is being vilified in his home state of Kwara for signing the statement conveying the party’s reaction to the election of the National Assembly leadership on June 9th.
Oyegun said Mohammed’s statement was issued with the knowledge and consent of the party, hence it would be wrong for anyone to make him a sacrificial lamb for carrying out his party responsibilities.
”The party is aware that its National Publicity Secretary has been grossly misunderstood by virtually everyone, especially in his state, just because he carried out his duty by signing the said statement by the party.
”At a personal risk and putting the party’s interest above his own, he issued that statement which reflected the position of the party at that particular time. The party is solidly behind him, and it will be wrong for anyone to interpret the statement as representing his personal opinion,” the APC Chairman said.
However, the APC appeared to be gradually inching into a final agreement on the sharing formula for the remaining offices in the federal legislature.
A reliable source told THISDAY that at the end of the meeting of the party’s National Working Committee yesterday, most of the gaps in the proposal for resolution of the conflict had been closed. It was learnt that the remaining offices have now been allocated to the combatants in the conflict. For instance, as part of the peace deal, THISDAY learnt that Senator Lawan is being considered to take up the position of Majority Leader in the senate and in the same manner other aggrieved persons have been tipped to occupy the principal offices allotted to their zone.
The source said that the only outstanding issue is that of the position of Majority Leader in the House of Representative which is to be given to Gbajabiamila. But there are those kicking against it on the grounds that the South-west had already gotten the Vice President and the Deputy Speaker positions.
Saraki, four others meet with Obasanjo…
Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki on Friday held a closed meeting with the former President Olusegun Obasanjo at the Presidential Hilltop Estate, Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital.
Saraki was accompanied with four serving senators that include: Senator Andy Uba, Senator Sani Yerima and Senator Danjuma Goje.
Others who also came with the Senate President included Kawu Baraje, former Governor of Osun state, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Ben Murray-Bruce and Senator Alaso Adura
Saraki arrived Obasanjo’s residence at about 9:11am and immediately rushed into the ex-President’s inner chamber for private discussions that lasted almost 3 hours.
Shortly after the closed door meeting with the former president, Senator Saraki who addressed journalists disclosed that his visit and that of his colleagues was to pay homage to the former president.
According to him, I’m here with some of my colleagues. Since I’ve been the Senate President, as one of our fathers, the former president, we are here to pay our homage to him, to seek his advice, to get his blessing and also to consult.
He added: “We all know President Obasanjo’s value to this country and we are here to tap from his wisdom, knowledge and that of experience.”
When asked how far he has been able to sort out differences between himself and his party over his emergence, he said “things are moving smoothly.
“Definitely, be rest assured that all that would be put behind us very shortly. We are very confident about that”, he assured.
On whether his leadership would support downward review of legislators’ salaries and allowances, he said “well, I think that is in progress already.”
He added: “If you remember last time, it was about N150 billion and it’s coming down to N120 billion. I think the situation in the country deserves that every public servant must make sacrifices and whatever sacrifice that is necessary, we will do it. And that is being done.”
“So, be assured that we are sensitive, we are aware of the situation in the country and if we are going to lead, we must lead by example. And we would do that”.
No Gang Up Can Remove Saraki, Ekweremadu….
Given the bickering that have characterised the APC over the emergence of Saraki as Senate President and Ekweremadu as deputy, the Senator representing Edo Central Senatorial District in the 8th National Assembly, Clifford Ordia has said no amount of gang up by leaders of the ruling party can remove the duo.
Ordia, a member of the PDP, was instrumental in the emergence of Saraki and Ekweremadu. He told journalists in an interview in Abuja yesterday that the era of interfering in the affairs of the National Assembly was over.
His position came following a statement credited to some aggrieved interests groups that the emergence of the two leaders was faulty and was not in tune with the party ideology.
He submitted that the emergence of the two senate leaders was divine, calling for concerted efforts to support the new leadership for sustainable development through vibrant legislature.
Ordia said: “I do not know why they are bickering and complaining. Saraki and Ekweremadu got a pan-Nigerian mandate. APC and PDP senators voted for them. Their emergence is divine and we must accept it like that.
“These two senators are cerebral politicians and they understand the workings of the National Assembly. I have no doubt about their ability to deliver and stabilise the Senate. Their emergence is not about APC or PDP. It is about a shift from the past.
“What Senators Saraki and Ekweremadu need right now is the support of every Nigerian in order to succeed.
“It is a waste of time, calling for their removal. That will never happen. Instead of wasting precious time, why can’t aggrieved senators just drop their pride and accept their emergence?”
Ordia further stressed the need to give the National Assembly ample freedom to operate without undue interference from party leaders. According to him, elections are over and the time has come to begin to fulfil campaign promises.
“We have finished the elections. At this time, political parties should allow their elected representatives to begin work and deliver on their campaign promises. We have a lot of things to do and the time is short.
“We have the Boko Haram menace, dwindling revenue, high rate of crime, poor state of the economy, unemployment among our teaming graduates and a host of other problems. We must hit the ground running,” he maintained.
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