sarakiThere are strong indications that leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, are in dilemma over the party’s threat to sanction the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara over the outcome of the national assembly election.
After Saraki and Dogara emergence on Tuesday, the APC issued a press statement rejecting their election and threatened to sanction Saraki, Dogara and other APC lawmakers that voted against the party’s preferred candidates, Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila for the Senate Presidency and House speakership respectively.
Nigerian Pilot Saturday reliably gathered that the threat did not go down well with supporters of Saraki and Dogara and this has sharply divided the party, and even some state chapters of the party are now on each other’s throat.
For instance, while members of the party in Kwara and Bauchi states are solidly behind the new leadership of the national assembly, Lagos state chapter of APC is calling for the head of Saraki and Dogara.
Obviously jolted by the scheming that denied Bola Ahmed Tinubu the opportunity to impose his choice candidates on the national assembly, the Lagos State chapter of APC called on the national leadership of the party to mete out appropriate sanctions on the duo Saraki, and Dogara, for anti-party activities.
The Lagos APC in a statement by its publicity secretary, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, said it was saddening that Saraki could ‘jump into bed’ with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in his desperation for power.
The statement read, “The purported election of Senator Saraki and Dogara as the Senate President and Speaker respectively, is a clear transgression of both the tenets of democracy and party politics. At this early stage, the APC must come down strongly to mete out sanctions and punishments against treacherous members that perpetrated this ugly charade at this early stage of the party’s life and history.”
Reacting to the position of Lagos APC, the Kwara state chapter of the party cautioned its Lagos counterpart against making uninformed and unguarded comments.
In a statement issued by the Publicity Secretary of APC in Kwara State, Sulyman Buhari, the party dismissed the statement by Lagos APC as unfortunate.
“It is quite unfortunate that Lagos APC recommended disciplinary actions against the Senate President and the Honourable Speaker without citing a provision of the APC constitution that has been contravened by these distinguished Nigerians and committed party leaders.
“We advise the spokesman of Lagos APC to allow his comments to be guided by the Law and constitution.”
Apart from the war between various interest groups within the APC, there were reports that the former vice president and G5 PDP governors that defected to APC last year are also being targeted for sanction over allegation that they were part of the scheme that threw up Saraki and Dogara.
The camp of a former governor from the South West is said to be pushing for the sanction of these PDP defectors for watering down his influence within the party.
However, Nigerian Pilot also gathered that some concerned APC leaders are not in support of any sanction that may further deepen the crisis in the party.
Their fear is based on the fact that any sanction on Saraki, Dogara, Atiku or any of the high profile members of the party may lead to imminent implosion in the party.
According to a source close to a member of the APC National Working Committee, NWC, “These are former governors whose influence swayed the 2015 in favour of APC in former PDP strongholds. If they are pushed out of the party it will undoubtedly affect the party in at least seven states where the incumbent governors may defect with their godfathers back to the PDP that is ready to welcome them back with open arms.”
He added that APC leaders are concerned that PDP is openly romancing those that defected from their party last year and have become their defenders in the media adding that APC leaders are at a loss on how to sanction these defectors.
“We are being careful on how to handle the situation. If you sanction them you will complicate the crisis and if you eat your words and allow them to go scot-free you will be setting a bad precedent,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has invited Senator Ahmed Lawan’s Unity Forum, for a meeting today all to save the party from being factionalised,” an APC source said.
The meeting is expected to resolve the smouldering crisis that is threatening the unity of the ruling party. This the source added why the APC National Working Committee called off the proposed visit by Senator Saraki.
In a related development, some other members of the APC Senators want the deputy senate president, to be re-contested for in order to have an all APC senate leadership. This group discovered that the chamber breached its rules in electing Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.
According to a Senator close to this group, said: “By every definition of the rules of the Senate, Ekweremadu was not properly elected. He may need to step aside and allow for a fresh election into that office. Destroying
“The alternative is to leave the court to decide his fate. This might lead to much litigation, which can hinder the activities of the Senate.
“This is the fresh challenge at hand. They claimed that the Seventh Senate amended the rules to allow for Open Secret Ballot but there is no record to show for it. We cannot accept any under-the-table amendment of rules for the sake of political exigency.”
In addition, the source revealed that there might be a burden on the President of the Senate to dump Ekweremadu for an APC candidate.
“I think once Ekweremadu steps aside, he will have to re-contest for the post with an APC candidate in a united APC Senate.”
“This will pose a challenge to the alliance between Saraki and the South-East/ South-South caucus. This is going to be an acid test for Saraki to prove that he is still a loyal member of APC or an ally of PDP,” the source added.
However, another source said president Buhari, will focus on a likely reconciliation of all parties and how to keep the APC in the Senate united.
“I think a win-win formula might be designed by the Presidency to save the party from any further embarrassment. You know, there are still some principal officers to be elected for the Senate.
“The development may lead to an enlarged session of the APC caucus in the Senate with the President and the leadership of the party,” the source said.