Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the choice of the Senate President deepened yesterday, with the party’s Unity Forum claiming that there was never a time at its retreat where and when the issue of a primary election to pick the Senate President was tabled or agreed upon. Last Saturday, two separate groups of APC senators claimed that they have each agreed on a particular choice of candidate for the exulted position of the National Assembly Chairman.
While the Like Mind Senators claimed that they have chosen Senator Abubakar Saraki as the Senate President, members of the Unity Forum claimed that they have chosen Senator Lawan Ahmad as the Senate President with Senator George Akume as the Deputy Senate President.
The Like Mind Senators also claimed that they have 35 APC senators, who signed for Saraki’s candidature. But members of the Unity Forum, however, came out with a counter claim yesterday that they presently have “about 37 senators have agreed to the Lawan/ Akume arrangement”.
Their stand is contained in an emailed statement signed by the quartet of Senator Robert Ajayi from the South-West, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim from the North-East, Senator Barnabas Gemade from the North-Central and Senator Abu Ibrahim from the North-West.
“For the records, there was no time before the retreat, during the retreat or after the retreat where and when the issue of a primary election to pick the Senate President was tabled or agreed upon. Nowhere in the party leadership structure can we find the mandate for the conduct of any election with regard to the emergence of the Senate Presidency candidate. Any contrary information, out there in the social or any kind of media is false, self–serving and intended to mislead the public.
“As far as we know, the National Chairman of the party, John Oyegun, gave the advice that we all meet in an effort to build a consensus among the different camps towards finding an harmonious solution. That was how far it went. There was no election that was called. It was now left for the APC members at the retreat to internally bond together to find a workable solution.
“To this end, different caucuses met from the entire geopolitical zone to discuss the candidacy of those contending for the Senate Presidency. After the caucusing, the members of the Unity Forum comprising of senators from the North East, North Central, North West and South West reached a resolution to support the Senator Lawan