A meeting called by President Muhammadu Buhari to end the leadership tussle among members of his party in the House of Representatives ended in a stalemate yesterday.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives are in crisis over the election of new leaders.
Both chambers have been unable to sit for more than four days since the assembly was inaugurated on June 9. Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won control of the National Assembly after the 28 poll, but its members have been factionalised since the election of Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara as Senate President and Speaker respectively.
Both Saraki and Dogara defied their party to contest the election and won with the help of the opposition PDP.
The APC leadership presented a list of members to be appointed as principal officers in both chambers as a way of restoring unity and peace in the party. But the request was turned down by Saraki and Dogara.
The legislators are reconvening today but there was little indication yesterday that the crises in the two chambers are over.
The meeting President Buhari had with the House members lasted 20 minutes.
APC National Chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, who attended the meeting with his deputy Segun Oni and party’s spokesman Lai Mohammed, also confirmed yesterday that the party would have another meeting outside the Villa in another four hours to resolve the crisis.
Oyegun expressed optimism that by today, a compromise would have been reached on the impasse.
“You will be very surprised that a lot was achieved in 20 minutes. I have a feeling that in another three or four hours and by tomorrow, we will have come to a compromise and have good news for the nation”, he said.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara told journalists that he and other APC lawmakers would go into another consultation with the party later yesterday.
He said: “I have always stood firmly by the party and like my chairman has just explained, we will go to do consultations with the party and I am sure sooner than later, we will have good news for Nigerians”.
Also, Gbajabiamila said he believed that a compromise would be reached at another meeting with the party later last night.
“This was a family meeting. I believe that by this (last) night, there will be compromise. We are still talking. But I think this is the first time everybody is coming together in a cordial atmosphere.
“It is not about magic! This is a family that has come together and we are here to resolve the problem and we shall move ahead to resolve the issue this (last)evening”.
Earlier, lawmakers had engaged in a verbal war while speaking to journalists on the outcome of the meeting with the president.
A spokesman of Dogara’s camp, Rep. Abdulmumini Jibrin said the president enjoined them to put the interest of the APC above any other consideration in order to resolve all contending issues.
Other lawmakers abruptly interrupted Jibrin, accusing him of misrepresenting President Buhari’s stand at the meeting.
They said Dogara must abide by the position of the APC on the election of House leaders by reading the names of those nominated by the party leadership at today’s plenary session to avoid more trouble in the House.
Sources at the meeting told our correspondent that Buhari had said that based on what had been happening, it seemed the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wanted to control both chambers of the National Assembly, and warned the lawmakers to be wary of that.
It was learnt that after Buhari spoke at the meeting, he gave Oyegun time to speak. The party chairman, it was gathered, told the president that the party had sent its position to Dogara and that the speaker had replied, taking different stand on the matter, which was the basis of Buhari’s directive for consultation.
However, Dogara declined to speak at the meeting when given the chance to do so, saying he had nothing to say. A source told Daily Trust that some members loyal to Dogara attempted to stage a walkout when Oyegun was speaking, but then decided against that.
A lawmaker loyal to the Dogara’s Consolidation Group, Abdulrazak Namdas, told Daily Trust that although Buhari mentioned party’s supremacy, he did not direct them to go an implement APC’s position on the principal officers’ positions of the House.
“The issue of party supremacy should not be taken in isolation. The president never directed us to implement the party’s letter. He only said the party should consult with us.
“He said he believes in supremacy of the party, but he did not direct us to implement the party’s nominations. He said we should go and sit down. He did not say we should go and announce the names submitted by the party.
“We in Dogara’s camp have made concessions, but the party is yet to make any concession. We elevated Doguwa and Iriase to the position of House leader and chief whip respectively, but the party nominated them for deputy leader and deputy chief whip respectively. I believe the party is made up of respected people. What is giving us problem is that some people are insisting on individuals,” he said.
Another Dogara loyalist, Rep Ahmad Abubakr Yunusa, who represents Yamatu/Deba Federal Constituency of Gombe State said the meeting had created room for consultation, saying although they believe in party supremacy, there was no evidence to show that the letter Oyegun sent to Dogara was the mind of any decision making body of the party.