President Muhammadu Buhari has allegedly decided to settle the crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress following the National Assembly elections.
According to The Nation, the country leader invited Senator Ahmed Lawan’s Unity Forum for a meeting to be held on June 12, Friday.
Recalled that Senator Lawan was the major contestant of Bukola Saraki for the Senate presidency. Although Saraki’s election generated outrage within the party leadership because of the internal irregularities, President Buhari accepted the results.
However, as the situation remains tense, Buhari is set to intervene to save the unity of the party.
An APC source disclosed:
“It is all to save the party from being factionalised.”
The today’s meeting is expected to handle the crisis which occurred after:
-the APC National Working Committee called off a proposed visit by Senator Saraki; and
-some members of the Senate discovered that the chamber breached its rules in electing Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.
It has been obtained that violation throughout the election might result in annulment of Ekweremadu’s victory. The source explained that instead of using division as contained in Rule 3 (1) (e)(i, ii, iii) and (f), the Senate opted for an open secret ballot system.
However, another source insisted that there were no violations saying that the clerk is authoritized to chose the election conduct system.
Rule 3 (1) (e) (i, ii, iii) and (f)
“When only two senators-elect are nominated and seconded as President of the Senate, the election shall be conducted as follows:
“(i) the Senate shall divide with the proposers and seconders as tellers.
“(ii) Voting shall be conducted by the clerks-at-the-table using the division list of the Senate with the tellers in attendance. The clerk of the senate shall submit the result of the division to the clerk of the National Assembly.
“(iii) the clerk shall then declare the senator-elect who has received the greater number of votes elected as President of Senate.
“(f) When more than two senators-elect are nominated and seconded as President of the Senate, the division shall be conducted in the manner prescribed in section (e) and the senator-elect who has received a majority of votes shall be the President of the Senate.”
The procedure of Senate deputy president election is similar.
One of the senators who pleaded for anonymity doubted the legal character of Ekweremadu’s election:
“By every definition of the rules of the Senate, Ekweremadu was not properly elected. He may need to step aside and allow for a fresh election into that office.
“The alternative is to leave the court to decide his fate. This might lead to many litigations which can hinder the activities of the Senate.
“This is the fresh challenge at hand. They claimed that the Seventh Senate amended the rules to allow for open secret ballot but there is no record to show for it. We cannot accept any under-the-table amendment of rules for the sake of political exigency…”
“I think once Ekweremadu steps aside, he will have to recontest for the post with an APC candidate in a united APC Senate.
“This will pose a challenge to the alliance between Saraki and the South-East/ South-South caucus. This is going to be an acid test for Saraki to prove that he is still a loyal member of APC or an ally of PDP.”
One more source on the condition of anonymity that President Buhari had no other choice by try to reconcile the party members.
“I think a win-win formula might be designed by the presidency to save the party from any further embarrassment. You know, there are still some principal officers to be elected for the Senate.
“The development may lead to an enlarged session of the APC caucus in the Senate with the President and the leadership of the party.”
It should be noted that the crisis started after the APC had officially rejected the NASS election outcome, as it was totally contradictory to the results of the previously conducted mock polls. Moreover, the party called for sanctions against the “treacherous members” of the party.