APC jittery over PDP’s threat on Senate Presidency

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• Senators suspect CCT Chairman compromises trial against Saraki

By CYPRIAN AJAH, Abuja

THE All Progressives Congress (APC) is currently in dilemma over the repercussion of the plot to remove the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, from office through the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

An insider source revealed that the APC leaders at the week end gave a second thought to the threat by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senator, Peter Nwaoboshi, that the PDP will take over the Senate President from the APC if Senate President Saraki is removed from office.

Leaders of the ruling party had considered the numerical strength of the two dominant political parties in the National Assembly, the APC and the PDP, then, the minor parties. They showed deep concern for the swinging loyalty of the strong supporters of the Senate President in the National Assembly since the ongoing power tussle in the National Assembly.

They were said to be frightened by the pressure to lose a fraction of APC senators to the PDP alliance, not necessarily by denouncing their APC membership but through shifting their support in solidarity with the embattled senate president, which may offset the majority equation being enjoyed by the ruling party.

The party leaders were revealed to be divided over the matter. While some had insisted they should proceed with the trial to enforce party discipline, others argued that discipline should start from party leaders, themselves, by allowing democracy to thrive in the National Assembly and the party, itself.

ALSO SEE: APC scribe condemns CCT trial of Saraki

It was disclosed that the sharp division ensued when some party leaders were discovered to be vehemently opposed to alternative solutions to the CCT trial of the senate president, making others suspect or believe they have pecuniary interest, or may be suffering from the hangover of the defeat they suffered on the day the national Assembly was inaugurated on the mandated proclamation of President Buhari.

Those in favour of alternative solution to the impasse outside the CCT had warned that the party leaders should be prepared to accept what comes out of the plot to the remove the senate president if it sails through, and must be held responsible for to any counter effect of causing irreconcilable conflicts in the party.

It was recalled that the APC narrowly escaped losing the senate president to the PDP and that narrow escape resulted into the PDP snatching the deputy senate president on the day the National Assembly was inaugurated. This was acknowledged to have remained bitter pills in the mouth of APC leaders till today. Therefore, strong warnings were given not to lose everything in the ongoing impasse.

Though, those insisting on continuing with the plot were said to be relying on convincing the president to roll out hot iron to intimidate or threaten APC senators against cooperating with PDP senators in electing the senate president when the need arises.
Currently, the APC has 58 sehinators, PDP 44 and Labour Party has one Senator and that is Senator Ovie Omo-Agege of Delta Central. At the moment, the rerun elections in six Senatorial Districts are yet to be concluded.

With the current composition, PDP only needs to pull away eight senators, including Saraki, himself, to take over the majority in deciding the new senate leadership. This calculation is facilitated by the fact that Saraki presently has the support of over 80 senators.

Before now, it was gathered that Senator Aliyu Wamakko, former Governor of Sokoto State, of the APC, Sokoto North, had mobilized some other APC senators for dialogue over the leadership crisis.

ALSO SEE: CCT: Saraki’s brain meets Buhari’s brawn

These efforts are in addition to other negotiation platforms in the party, particularly, one being facilitated by Senator, Ali Ndume, Senate Majority Leader. That arrangement led to the meeting of top APC leaders at the Presidential Villa, penultimate week. That meeting was attended by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, APC national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun; Senate President Saraki; APC for former acting national chairman, Bisi Akande, Senate Leader Ali Ndume and several other APC senators.

Akande had admitted that the APC leaders convened the consultative meeting deliberate on how to resolve a critical internal crisis in the party.

Several senators, today, suspect the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar, to be allegedly taking instructions from some APC leaders in handling the trial of Saraki. They were of the opinion that the CCT chairman may have allegedly been politically influenced in the prosecution of the senate president, and thus, may compromise the trial.

However, the search for reconciliation was gathered to have been extended to some Emirs in the north, reaching out to notable APC leaders from that zone to intervene in saving Saraki.

However, Senator Peter Nwaboshi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta, was gathered to have said that Saraki’s trial at the CCT was mere a blackmail; thus, threatening that PDP would produce the next Senate President if Saraki is forced out of office. He was said to have vowed that the senators are ready to replicate the system in the United States of America, where the Republican Party controls the legislature while the Democrats control the executive.

ALSO SEE: Supreme Court returns Saraki to CCT

“I was the first to address the press in Port Harcourt and I told them that Saraki was going to win the Senate Presidency and I gave them my reasons. Eventually, we went there, he won. If, but God forbids, because we don’t see it coming, by chance, Saraki is removed; I can tell you that the PDP will produce the next Senate President, Nwaoboshi was cited to have declared. He had insisted”

“We only need three and we have it. The calculation is very clear to me. The calculation is very clear for the PDP. We know what it will take us. When I told them that Saraki was going to win, I did a lot of mathematical calculations based on the facts on the ground and it is even clearer to me now that the PDP will win it. We will win it. If anybody is thinking that a PDP man is going to vote against a PDP candidate, he is telling a lie. We have people and we know how to get the people from the APC. We will win and that will be very interesting,” he had stated.

Saraki is facing charges of false declaration of assets, a case that has been dragging since he became the senate president. He has gone through the Federal High Court, Federal Court of Appeal and ultimately, the Supreme Court, questioning the jurisdiction of the CCT to try him on criminal case, and seeking legal protection that he may not get justice from the tribunal, but to no avail.

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