Senate President Bukola Saraki Friday wrote to the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Oyegun, over the emergence of principal officers of the Senate and the failure of the party’s list of favoured candidate, saying party caucuses acted before the letter from Oyegun was received.
He stated further that in the circumstance, there was little he could do to honour the party’s letter.
In a related development, the Forum of the state Chairmen of the APC has asked the national leadership of the party to try and resolve the conflict generated by the distribution of principal offices in the National Assembly “so that the new administration can take-off without hindrance.”
In Saraki’s letter dated June 25, and entitled: “Party’s Position on Principal Officers of 8th Senate,” the President of the Senate said various zonal caucuses of APC had made their choices of candidates for principal offices in the parliament in accordance with parliamentary convention and extant provisions of Senate Standing Orders before the arrival of the party’s letter.
Furthermore, Saraki said the decisions of various caucuses’ choices of officers were at variance with the nominations contained in the letter.
He further said whereas he felt obliged to act on the party’s recommendations, he was handicapped by the provisions of Senate Standing Orders as he pledged to be a loyal party member.
The letter reads: “With reference to your letter No. APC/NHDQ/01/015/05,dated 23rd June, 2015, in respect of the captioned subject matter forwarding the names of the principal officers for the Senate.
“The said letter was received after the various decisions to nominate candidates as principal officers of the Senate in line with parliamentary convention and the extant provisions of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended (Chapter VI, Rules 28, 29 and 31 refers). This was a follow up to the prior APC Senate caucus meeting held on 23rd June, 2015.
“Accordingly, the letters transmitting the decision of the APC caucuses do not conform to the recommendations as contained in your letter under reference. (Please see annexures 1,2 and 3 attached herewith)
“Furthermore, whilst one is strongly persuaded to toe party line and act in accordance with suggested party position, regrettably, clear provisions of our extant rules and standard parliamentary convention have not given me that leeway to act otherwise. Therefore, my hands are tied in the circumstances and l seek your understanding in this regards.
“However, I wish to state without equivocation that I remain loyal to our great party and its leadership and also fully committed to the change agenda of Mr. President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Oyegun had in his letter listed Senators Ahmad Lawan (Yobe, North-east), George Akume (Benue, North-central), Olusola Adeyeye (Osun, South-west) and Abu Ibrahim (Katsina, North-west) as nominees for Senate Leader, Deputy Senate Leader, Chief Whip and Deputy Whip respectively.
However, the letters sent to Saraki by the caucuses and signed by members contained the names of Senator Ali Ndume (Borno South, North-east) as the Majority Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah (Kebbi South, North-west) as Deputy Majority Leader and Francis Alimikhena (Edo North, South-south) as the Deputy Chief Whip. When Saraki read the letters on Thursday, the South-west caucus was yet send the name of its representative. It was later learnt that the caucus eventually nominated Adeyeye in accordance with the party’s position.
APC state chairmen urge quick resolution of NASS crisis…
Meanwhile, the Forum of the state Chairmen of the APC has asked the national leadership of the party to try and resolve the conflict generated by the distribution of principal offices in the National Assembly so that the new administration can take-off without hindrance.
The Forum which met for two days in Abuja in the wake of the discomforting development in the National Assembly which pitted rival groups of APC lawmakers against each other said they are solidly in support of the supremacy of the party.
In a communique issued on Friday at the end of their meeting which took place at the Amzo Hotel in Abuja, the chairmen expressed concern at the current crisis the party was witnessing in the National Assembly and advised the leadership to put in place proper machineries to checkmate further occurrences.
The present trouble in the party started when Senator Lawan and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, both APC’s candidates for the posts of Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively, lost to Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara, in that order.
The loss by the APC choice candidates was later linked to the defiance and collaboration between some members of the ruling APC and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party caucus in the National Assembly.
However, a communique signed by the Acting Chairman of the APC Chairmen Forum, Umar Haruna Mohammed urged the party to use the long break embarked upon by the legislators to resolve the matter so that the much needed change will be seen and enjoyed by everybody.
“The party chairmen have met for two days between Thursday and Friday to review the current challenges facing the party at the National Assembly with regard to party supremacy.
“As state party chairmen and direct grassroots leaders, we are all concerned about the development and therefore re-affirmed our believe and loyalty to our party, the APC supremacy as contained in the party’s constitution and the decision of its leadership.
“We are also not happy with the development in the National Assembly especially the lower chamber and call on the party leadership to put in place proper machineries to checkmate further occurrences.
“We also call on the party leaders to use the long break with a view to resolving the matter so that the much needed change will be seen and enjoyed by everybody.
A chieftain of the APC and the National Publicity Secretary of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Osita Okechukwu while commenting on the unfolding scenario at the National Assembly, said President Muhammadu Buhari would have no problem dealing with the new leadership.
“What I am saying is that it is in the interest of Buhari that we have a bi-partisan National Assembly,” he said.
APC’s Undue Interference, Bane of National Assembly Crisis…
Meanwhile, a member of the Seventh National Assembly, Bitrus Kaze has blamed the palpable tension in the National Assembly that degenerated into physical assault on the undue interference of the APC) leadership, adding that just as the PDP managed the Tambuwal saga in 2011, the APC should be mature enough to do same.
In a statement in Jos, Kaze lamented: “Coming from the same House of Representatives, I actually feel more disheartened about the development.
“But we need to come to terms with realities; it is impossible to have such a huge collection of different shades of individuals without some forms of crisis. It happens in virtually all parliamentary democracies globally, although in different degrees and for different reasons.
“However, what makes the difference is the subject of the brawl. Whereas in advance democracies, such crises are triggered by differences resulting from ideologically based issues, in our case here, it is more often than not based on political positions or partisan or regional divide. That is what really makes it disheartening.
“Happening less than a month after inauguration makes it most disheartening; the 8th Assembly may have started on a wrong footing. Some of us envisaged this given the porous democratic credentials of Buhari. The President and APC told the whole world that they would not interfere with the affairs of the Assembly, but it’s their interference that has led to this. When Tambuwal emerged in 2011, they didn’t question party supremacy. Why are they talking about party supremacy now?” -ThisDayNews