Faced with a looming crisis in securing the selection of its favored candidates for leadership posts at the Senate and House of Representatives, officials of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are weighing measures to force the incoming class of National Assembly members to postpone their convening beyond Wednesday. According to a senior party source, the postponement “is to enable President [Muhammadu] Buhari [to] rein in rebellious lawmakers within the ranks of our party.”
Mr. Buhari is expected back in Abuja on Thursday night after attending the ongoing G7 meeting in Germany.
Some APC lawmakers led by for former Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State have reportedly reached an alliance with People’s Democratic Party lawmakers overnight to present a PDP candidate as President of the Senate. Immediate past Senate President, David Mark, was named as the likely beneficiary of Mr. Saraki’s revolt.
Former Governor Saraki is reportedly irate that he was schemed out of the APC’s nomination for the Senate Presidency. Last Saturday, the party bypassed the former governor amid concerns that he could not be totally relied upon to lead an effective and cooperative Senate that would give President Buhari reliable legislative backing. Instead, the APC adopted Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan from Nigeria’s northeast state of Yobe as its candidate for the Senate Presidency.
SaharaReporters learnt that President Buhari had expressed serious concerns to some associates that a Nigerian Senate led by Mr. Saraki would not lend him the necessary legislative backing to wage a major war against corruption.
Mr. Saraki carries a lot of corruption baggage, dating back to his days as an executive of the defunct Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria, and continuing with his tenure as Kwara State governor.
SaharaReporters also learned that another group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives were also upset with the APC’s choice of Lagos legislator, Femi Gbajabiamila, as the party’s sole candidate for Speaker. Yakubu Dogara, an aspirant for the speakership who hails from Bauchi State, leads the disaffected legislators opposed to Mr. Gbajabiamila.
An APC executive told SaharaReporters that some party leaders consider Mr. Saraki as the wrecking ball who must be subdued to ensure that the party does not lose the leadership of the Senate.
In the midst of the internal squabble within the APC, SaharaReporters learnt that former Senate President David Mark has been mobilizing disgruntled APC senators to back him for a third term in the premier post at the Senate. Another source disclosed that several PDP senators were demanding outrageous sums of money from APC leaders in exchange for casting their votes for candidates favored by the party.