Francis Moses writes on the move by the APC to sanction Atiku Abubakar and governor Aminu Tambuwal for fueling the crisis in the party by supporting Saraki and Dogara’s emergence as Senate president and House Speaker in the NASS.
In recent times there has been a serious argument that the lingering crisis among the All Progressive Congress APC senators in the Upper chamber may hinder the agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari administration if is not urgently addressed. Meanwhile there are indications that the leadership of the APC, may sanction former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and present Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, over the outcome of the National Assembly elections that challenged the supremacy of the party.
Sources within the APC said Atiku colluded with Senator Bukola Saraki to undermine the will of the party while Tambuwal, who is the former Speaker of the House of Reps, supported Yakubu Dogara who emerged as Tambuwal’s successor. The suspicion of the APC leadership was reignited by the fact that the party is sadi to have fully established that Atiku supported Saraki’s and Dogara’s emergence, particularly since he was the first party chieftain Saraki visited after emerging as Senate President, apparently to thank him.
A reliable source within the party said the party was aware of moves by the PDP to secure principal offices in the National Assembly over a month ago and that was why the party selected staunch APC members, in the likes of Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila as its candidates for Senate President and Speaker. The source said the APC knew that the PDP would approach its old members to actualize this plan. It could be recalled that both Saraki and Dogara defected to the APC from the PDP. The source said, “we started keeping tabs on Atiku in January when he showed that he was not interested in the success of President Buhari when he was our presidential candidate.
Our fears were reignited when the then President, Goodluck Jonathan, paid Atiku a visit shortly before the elections. “A large section of Atiku’s supporters defected to the PDP a day after that meeting with Jonathan and that was why Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Political Affairs, Rufai Alkali, said shortly after that meeting that Atiku would soon return to the PDP. Atiku even admitted himself that he did not attend Buhari’s rallies. “Don’t you find it curious that the first person that Saraki visited after emerging as Senate President was Atiku? APC had evidence that Tambuwal supported Dogara so that he (Tambuwal) could retain his influence over the lower chamber of the National Assembly.
Tambuwal ensured that Dogara emerged the Chairman, House Services Committee, which is the most influential committee in the House because of his closeness to Dogara. There is every indication that Tambuwal is also nursing a presidential ambition and needs to retain control over the House. He will not be able to retain such influence if Gbajabiamila is the Speaker.” However one of the Senator representing Kaduna Central Zone on the platform of the APC, Shehu Sani, says the division among APC members in the upper legislative chamber following the election of Senator Saraki as Senate President, if not resolved amicably and on time, could pose a great threat to the government of President Buhari in delivering on its campaign promises to Nigerians.
This statement came as National Assembly members reconvene on Tuesday from their 2-week break after their inauguration on June 9. Senator Sani who was addressing journalists in Kaduna recently, lamented that the PDP members capitalized on the division within the APC caucus to bring in Senator Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President even when the party is in the minority. While stating that there was no plan by APC members to impeach Senator Ekweremadu, he expressed confidence that the APC caucus would find a way of overcoming the landmine.
However he admitted that there were some flaws in the emergence of Saraki as President of the Senate, Sani plead to his colleagues to accept Saraki’s election for the interest of peace and harmony in the upper chamber. Sani also expressed hopefulness that with the reconciliation process being initiated by the APC national leadership and some eminent Nigerians, the crisis within the party would be resolved in the overall interest of all Nigerians. In a related development, President Buhari and the Chairman of the (APC), John Oyegun is angry with some leaders of the party.
They are angry with the leaders over the infighting for ministerial positions in the new cabinet. Many leaders are said to have approached Oyegun to help them push their chances with Buhari. The party leaders during one of their meetings with Oyegun few days ago disclosed their intentions to become cabinet members to Oyegun urging him to transmit same to President Buhari. The leader’s request, however, did not receive the endorsement of Oyegun who frowned at them. When Oyegun sought President Buhari consent on the request of the party leaders, Buhari was said to have expressed shock over the demand. Buhari was reported to have told the leaders to forget the idea of becoming cabinet members.
Interesting the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as evasive, diversionary and pre-emptive, the Buhari administration’s ‘pile up’ of excuses for possible failure in delivering its campaign promises to Nigerians. The PDP said it was unfortunate that President Buhari and the APC, who were privy to the nation’s dwindling economy occasioned by global economic downturn and fall in international oil price, even before the start of the campaigns, chose to deceive Nigerians with bogus promises, only to now resort to excuses after using the promises to secure power at the centre.
In a statement issued recently, the spokesman for the PDP, Mr Olisa Metuh, said the party noted with dismay, President Buhari’s statement on Monday that Nigerians should not expect much from his first 100 days in office on claims that he met “virtually an empty treasury and huge debts”. Mr Metuh stressed that such statement only underlined the fact that the present administration was really not equipped to face the challenges of governance. His words “While we restate our resolve to engage only in credible and issue based opposition, we want the President and the APC to note that their plea for patience from Nigerians does not arise, because ab initio, there has not been any indication that they are actually serious and determined to deliver on their campaign promises upon which they rode to power.
“Of course Nigerians are willing to support and cooperate with the President, but we are worried that the pictures emerging from his presidency and his party do not in any way inspire hope in the citizenry, especially as they have continued to show that theirs is ostensibly a matter of obtaining power by false pretences. The PDP further dismissed claims by the spokesman for the APC, Mr. Lai Mohammed, that President Buhari’s administration has achieved in three weeks what the immediate past administration did not achieve in five years, describing it as the ridiculous and misleading.
“Since after their electoral victory, the APC and the President have continued to expose their lack of commitment towards their campaign promises. “We recall that on May 5, 2015, twenty-four days before his inauguration, President Buhari at a meeting with APC leaders in Abuja opened the excuse galore when he expressed his nervousness to deliver in office, adducing that ‘Rome was not built in a day’. “Indeed, we empathise with the President, knowing that the confusion and clear lack of direction in his party have not helped matters, but we urge him to rise up to the challenge, take urgent steps and disentangle himself from the selfish and unpatriotic tendencies of APC leaders, especially given the fact that Nigerians gave him a mandate for which they will continue to hold him accountable,” the party said.
The PDP further restated that it was eager to see the APC and the President unveil their economic roadmap and blueprint for governance to enable it, through robust opposition, provide credible alternatives and options for their policies and programmes in the overall interest of Nigerians.