Members of both the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party in the Senate held secret caucus meetings outside the National Assembly complex on Tuesday.
The meetings were said to be part of the search for a likely successor to the embattled Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
The trial of the Kwara Central Senatorial District representative began at the Code of Conduct Tribunal after all options by his team of legal experts to secure an adjournment of the case failed.
Our correspondent learnt that only 23 senators, comprising mainly members of the PDP, were with the Senate President in court while majority of his colleagues in the APC stayed away.
A group of the APC senators, who were said to have met secretly somewhere in the Asokoro area of the city, were said to have agreed to plead with Saraki to resign his position.
A Senator, who attended the meeting, told our correspondent on condition of anonymity that they reviewed the proceedings at the court and concluded that the CCT judges might convict Saraki based on the evidence before them.
He said, “We are trying to see how we can guarantee a soft-landing arrangement for the Senate President and we believe that the best thing for him would be to resign honourably now and face his trial.”
Attempts to speak with the senators to know their individual positions on the issue failed as those contacted refused to speak on record.
A PDP Senator accused the APC-led Federal Government of trying to discredit the immediate past Senate President, David Mark, with the Panama Papers offshore assets scam due to its fears that Mark might be re-elected as Saraki’s successor.
He said, “They raised the same Panama issue sometime in 2007 when Senator Mark wanted to contest as Senate President but we denied the allegations. They kept quiet when they didn’t see any evidence against him.
“They are scared that the opposition could hijack the Senate going by the division among the APC senators.”
Our correspondent learnt that Senators Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West) and Shaba Lafiaji (Kwara North) were still being considered by the APC as possible replacement for Saraki, if he either resigns or is convicted.