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Senate leadership: Saraki unsettles APC Senate caucus

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When militarisation of elections divided Senators

…Allies plots to influence emergence of new Senate president

As the subtle battle for the leadership of the ninth senate began in the National Assembly, there is apprehension in the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senate caucus over alleged moves by the outgoing Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to influence the emergence of a new Senate leadership.

The National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) will be inaugurated in June consequent upon the issuance of a signed proclamation by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The fear of APC senators is not unconnected to the influence Saraki welds among PDP and APC senators despite his failed bid to return to the senate.

He had planned to take a shot at the Senate plum position but, unfortunately, he was defeated at the poll by APC’s candidate, Dr Oloriegbe Yahaya Ibrahim.

It was learnt that Saraki, who leads an influential group in the Senate, comprising principally PDP senators and some members of the APC caucus who crave his influence to win the support of the PDP caucus, is working on the 2015 template with which he emerged as Senate President with the candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, caucus, Ike Ekweremadu, as Deputy Senate President.

The group, as gathered, met last week at the Maitama residence of Senator Saraki where 42 PDP senators-elect resolved to influence the emergence of a new Senate leadership.

The crux of the group’s plot is to ensure that it works with and supports any APC senator that is amenable to its proposal to accommodate the PDP caucus in the Senate leadership.

The group, according to sources, was interested in retaining the position of Deputy Senate President.

The group was said to have come up with Plans “A”, “B” and “C”, preparatory to the horse-trading that is expected to characterise the race for the position of Senate President.

The group’s plan A, as learnt, is to sponsor one of them for the position of Senate President in the event two or more members of the APC caucus present themselves for the position on the floor of the Senate.

If it becomes difficult for the group to activate plan “A”, it was agreed that it should support Senator Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe in North East) who, according to members of the group, was more amenable; and, they believe that with him, they could nick the position of Deputy Senate President.

The group’s plan “C” in case plans “A” and “B” fail is to support Senator Ahmed Lawan who they believed would not act to adversely affect the group’s interests.

It was learnt that the Saraki group resolved that for no reasons should they allow the duo of Senators Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa in North Central zone) and Ali Ndume (APC Borno in North East zone) to step in the saddle as Senate President. Both of them are dubbed as chronic loyalists of Buhari.

Largely unsettled by the plot by the Saraki group, members of the APC caucuses in the National Assembly and in the party’s hierarchy in Abuja are now inclined to deliberately cede all presiding and principal officers’ positions in the Senate and House of Representatives to zones where they could accommodate and endorse predetermined party and president’s loyalists for election/selection.

A source hinted that the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) had already been activated to mobilise concerned state governors and leading party stalwarts to ensure that the leaderships of both chambers comprise identified loyalists.

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