LEADERS of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) appear sharply divided on the fate that should befall the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, in view of his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), sources close to the party have said.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that a stakeholders’ meeting of the APC, which held at the Presidential Villa, two weeks ago, was truncated as a result of the cracks in the top hierarchy of the party on the issue.
It was also learnt that while a number of party chiefs were of the view that the Saraki matter must be handled carefully so as not to cause an early implosion within the party, some were of the view that the Senate President should be allowed to carry his cross, while others were of the view that the ongoing trial could speak negatively about the party.
It was gathered that while Saraki’s matter was billed for discussion at the Villa meeting, which was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, some leaders, who were in attendance and who did not want the matter resolved by the party, sent out messages to some media, intimating them Saraki was going to the Villa to beg APC leaders.
A source in the know said the messages sent to some media outfits practically took the wind out of the sail of the meeting and largely culminated in the failure to reach any concrete conclusion.
“The party is largely divided on the Saraki issue and I can tell you this is affecting things down the line. It is affecting the way senators of the APC are also reacting to things. The Villa meeting was set up to ensure that the party could extract some commitments from Saraki and find a political solution to the issues at stake, but those opposed to a resolution apparently moved fast.
“They started sending messages to some media to indicate that Saraki was going to the Villa to be the APC even before the Senate President left the National Assembly. He got to the Villa late, but even before he left the chamber, his office had been bombarded by questions from several media. The meeting could not come to a concrete solution that day because of the antics of the leaders, who leaked the meeting, even though the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari also contributed to the meeting’s failure,” a source said.
Sources also confirmed that the division at the top echelon of the APC was also affecting the unity of its members in the Senate.
While the anti-Saraki forces are pushing for his replacement with another senator, who will have the backing of the party, senators loyal to Saraki are firming up together in case of any untoward development.
Loyalists of the Senate President, under the aegis of the Like Mind Senators (LMS), are insisting that even if the APC insists on removing Saraki, his supporters and the senators of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would determine the emergence of the successor.
Sources said the LMS was relying on its number, which currently stood at 32 out of the 58 senators of the APC and the backing of the PDP senators, whose number stood at 45 right now, pending the conduct of some rerun.
“We just hope that reason will prevail and this matter would be resolved amicably. The APC needs to learn from recent history of the assembly. When former President Olusegun Obasanjo orchestrated the removal of Senator Adolphus Wabara, believing that he would not support the third term agenda, the senators rallied round and elected Senator Ken Nnamani, who was not his choice and the Enugu senator contributed to the defeat of third term,” a lawmaker said, on Sunday.