Teddy Nwanunobi, in Abuja and Bisi Longe in Akure report the views of APC Senators seeking ways out of the party’s lingering crisis
Against the backdrop of the lingering NASS induced crisis in the All Progressives Congress, APC, concerned lawmakers have suggested ways to restore order before it mars the party. Speaking with Senate correspondents yesterday in Abuja, the Deputy Senate Majority Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, warned that external influence from the All Progressives Congress (APC) would worsen the ongoing leadership crisis in the National Assembly, rather than solve it.
Na’Allah, however, maintained that the former Interim National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, was not misquoted in his allegation that the North has conspired against the Yorubas. He also urged the ruling APC members to accept Senator Ike Ekweremadu as the Deputy Senate President, and move forward.
He said: “Let me say that we do not have a crisis in the Senate. What we have are disagreements between our colleagues, senators, on how certain things should be done. When you have a crisis, then, you are talking about reconciliation; but when you have a disagreement, it is not about reconciliation, it is about sorting out the matter based on what all of us believe in. “The happy thing about it is that there is not a single senator in both the groups, who does not believe in the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerian as (they relate) to the Senate.
So, it is going to be a very simple issue to settle, provided the external influence ceases for the time being. “Mr. Akande is a very senior member of this country, and I am not so sure that he has not been misquoted with respect to that issue. But even if it is, I am absolutely sure that that (allegation) cannot be correct statement of the situation. “The North holds every section of this country high. We detest the situation of labeling us, North. We have gone past that stage in the development of our country.
“We are a united country, whether we like it or not. If there is conspiracy on the part of the North, what makes you think that it will involve bringing somebody from the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) and South-East to be the Deputy Senate President? “I have not seen Mr. President nor seen his body language, but I know that Mr. President is a patriot. He believes in this country. He has exhibited that believe in every aspect of his life. “He said that President (Muhammadu Buhari) had already said that he was willing to work with everyone.
I know that as loyal party members, we are not happy with the situation (regarding Ekweremadu’s position). But as matured people, we should be able to make good of what has happened and then move the country forward,” Na’Allah said. Reacting to the letter from the APC, Na’Allah argued that the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, was right by refusing to read it on the floor of the Red Chamber. Na’Allah, who further observed that it would be unconventional to read any letter on the floor, other that of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, added that the principle is practiced by parliaments all over the world.
“A lot of people do not understand; as a member of the National Assembly, the moment you step into the National Assembly, you either take the Bible or the Quran. Then you subscribe to the oath of allegiance, and then take your oath of office. “The oath of office says that you will uphold, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Law, and then the Rules of the Senate. Outside these three documents, a senator does not have any leverage to do anything outside. There is no other document outside these three. “Then, if you carefully look at the Rules of the Senate, the only letters that can be read on the floor of the House is a letter from Mr. President. That is the convention, not only in Nigeria, but all other parliaments all over the world. People should understand the workings of democracy before they begin to make imputations that are not known in democratic circles,” he advised. He clarified, however, that the party can have influence on its members in the National Assembly “When a party wins an election, it calls the caucus of all those, who got involved in bringing a successful election.
Then, it will say Mr. A B C helped this party greatly at the polls. “So, we intend to compensate that person by appointing a credible person from that side of the country to be our Secretary to the Government (of the Federation), and our intention is to select this person to be our Chief of Staff. So, at your caucuses, we advise that you bring people from this geopolitical zone so that we (will) be able to balance the party for smooth governance. “Then, the caucuses will come and sit down, and say in view of what the party has said, it is important for us to now zone maybe Senate Presidency to this. That is how the calculations are made. I am not seeing any issue here it is just that people are trying to overheat the polity without knowing what it is all about,” he explained.
In his contribution, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, representing the Ondo central at the upper chamber in the National Assembly has noted that the present happenings in the All Progressive Congress [APC] should not be seen as crisis per see as been speculated, that it is a political development. Alasoadura stated that politics is dynamic; hence when issues unfolded it should not be seen as a crisis or problem that can be orchestrated more than necessary. The Senator speaking over the weekend at his country home, Iju during a thanksgiving service held at St. Mathews Anglican organized for him. He informed that in a matter of time, all the issues will soon be resolved, while the party, APC will continue to wax stronger for the desire reasons the people voted them into power.