Indications have emerged on how the efforts by the National Peace Committee, led by retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar, to resolve the Senate crisis was frustrated by the embattled President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki.
Saraki is at present facing corruption charges before the Code Conduct Tribunal, a development many have attributed to his failure to resolve the lingering crisis in the Senate.
However, the Presidency on Sunday asked that it be left out of the travails of the former Governor of Kwara State.
It was gathered that National Peace Committee had on August 11 visited the leadership of Senate to find a lasting solution to the crisis in the Senate.
During the meeting, the Abubakar-led National Peace Committee was said to have told the leadership of the Saraki-led Senate to toe party lines by acceding to the request for Senator Ahmad Lawan to emerge as the Senate Leader and Senator Gorge Akume as his deputy.
The NPC, personally led by Abubakar, was said to have arrived the office of Saraki at about 5pm for a closed-door meeting that ended after 7pm.
The group had earlier that day met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja to fashion out how to restore peace in the Senate and the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress.
Inside sources at the meeting told The Eagle Online that the NPC expressed concern over the disagreement between the Senate president and the APC leadership over the position of principal officers of the party.
The group was said to have told Saraki pointblank that he must toe the party lines.
However, in the bid not to be seen to have spurned the mediation and instruction of the NPC, Saraki was said to have ensured that the visit of the peace Committee to resolve the crisis was not fully reported by the media, while also refusing to yield to the demands.
It was learnt that even during the meeting, Saraki only pleaded for the resolution of the crisis but was not willing to concede any ground.
Dignataries in the peace delegation that visited Saraki on August 11 included Cardinal John Onaiyekan; the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar; the Chairman of Vanguard Media Limited, Sam Amuka; Alhaji Aliko Dangote of the Dangote Group of Companies; Commodore Ebitu Okiwe; Primate of the Anglican Church (Nigerian Communion), Nicholas Okoh; the Catholic Archbishop of Sokoto, Mathew Hassan Kukah; the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor; as well as Senator Ben Obi.
Saraki was later to “add salt to injury”, a source said, when the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions summoned the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Larmode, who had invited his wife, Toyin, for investigation over allegations of corruption.
Senators elected on the platforms of both the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party kicked against the probe of Lamorde.
They said there were procedural errors in the probe.
But the Senate, under the leadership of Saraki, ignored the outcry of the senators and proceeded with investigative hearing, which is yet to be concluded.