- Tinubu, NWC on war path
As the crisis within the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, continues to fester, palpable tension has enveloped the national leadership of the party over the sharing formula for the remaining positions in the two chambers of the national assembly.
Dependable sources confirmed to Nigerian Pilot Saturday that the national leader of the ruling party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is having a battle of his life as the national working committee is battling him over his intended imposition of candidates for the remaining principal officers of the national assembly.
The source said Tinubu was told in an unequivocal language that he has had enough of imposition as he was not the only one that owns the party and should rather allow other stakeholders at the zonal level also have am imput in the selection of other NASS leadership
In the meantime the visit of the senate president, Bukola Saraki to former president Olusegun Obasanjo at the former President’s hilltop mansion in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Saraki was in company of Senators Andy Uba of Anambra South, Danjuma Goje of Gombe Central, Ahmed Sani Yerima of Zamfara West and Tayo Alasoadura of Ondo Central.
Others were the former acting Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Kawu Baraje and deposed National Secretary of PDP and former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
The Senate President, who rode in the same Toyota Land Cruiser with inscription, ‘Seal of the President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria’ with Uba arrived the hilltop home some minutes after 9:00 a.m., was welcomed by one of Obasanjo’s daughters, Funke and went straight into the meeting which lasted for about two hours.
Saraki, who later spoke with journalists, who had laid siege at the entrance of the building, said he was in Abeokuta to consult with the former President and to tap from his wealth of experience.
On the crisis within the APC occasioned by Saraki’s emergence as the President of the Senate, Saraki said things were moving all well at reconciling the aggrieved members saying that the crisis will soon be a thing of the past.
He said, “We are here with colleagues to see the former President, as one of our fathers and former President, to pay homage to him, get his advice, get his blessing and also to consult.
“We all know President Obasanjo’s value to this country and we are here to tap from that wisdom and that knowledge and experience.
“The issue within the party, I think as you can see, things are moving smoothly definitely, you should be rest assured that all that would be put behind us shortly, we are very confident about that.”
Saraki also assured that his leadership would welcome the downward review of the National Assembly’s budgetary allocation, adding that the leadership was sensitive and would make sacrifices for the betterment of the nation.
He said, “I think that is already in progress. If you remember the last time it was about 150 billion and it is coming down to 120 billion, the situation in the country deserves …sacrifices and whatever sacrifice is necessary, we would do it and that will be done at any given time.
“Be rest assured that definitely we are sensitive, we are aware of the situation in the country and if we are going to lead we must lead by examples and we will do that.”
Nigerian Pilot Saturday gathered that the meeting might not be unconnected with the crisis within the National Assembly and the need for Obasanjo to break truce between the leadership of the party and members of the National Assembly loyal to Saraki.
It was gathered that leadership of the party including President Muhammadu Buhari have cut communication with the Senate President since his emergence.
Nigerian Pilot Saturday also gathered that Saraki brought ‘Obasanjo boys’ to appeal to the former President to intervene in the crisis being an elder statesman respected by Buhari and other national leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu.
It will be recalled that while Saraki was a former Special Assistant to Obasanjo on Budget, Andy Uba and Danjuma Goje also served under Obasanjo as Special Assistant on Special Duties and Domestic Affairs and Minister of State, Power and Steel respectively.
The worry within the top echelon of the APC is that Saraki may have gone to Obasanjo to plead with him to spearhead the battle between former members of the PDP that defected to the APC last year and the power block led by the former Lagos State governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Both Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives were former members of PDP and they joined forces with PDP lawmakers to truncate the emergence of APC anointed candidates during the June 9 National Assembly election.
The outcome of the election has deepened the rift between the PDP defectors and the block led by Tinubu who is refered to as the APC national leader.
Nigerian Pilot Saturday gathered that the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who belongs to Tinubu camp, avoided welcoming the Senate President to the state.
It was gathered from a well placed source close to the Governor that, Amosun, who had early been informed of the Saraki’s visit chose to attend burial ceremony of a party member, Pa Ayo Adebanjo along with his deputy instead of welcoming and even accompanying the team to Obadanjo’s home.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent that Amosun is among party members who are not happy with the Senate President because of the process that led to his emergence.
The source said Amosun and some other Governors were in support of Saraki’s Senate Presidential ambition, but were angered by the process that led to his emergence on the day of the election.
The source further disclosed that Amosun, with about two other governors were invited to Saraki’s Abuja home for a meeting, but were still inside the house waiting for the former Governor of Kwara State, when they learnt of his emergence.
The source said, “The Governor is aware of his visit, but he is angry with Saraki. His anger is not because of his emergence, but because of the process.
“Some of these governors, including Amosun, are close friends of Saraki and that was why they were in his house, in Abuja, to honour an invitation in respect of what was to come later at the National Assembly, but they were still in the house waiting for Saraki when they learnt over the media that Saraki had been elected Senate President.”