Three months after his controversial election as Senate president, Senator Bukola Saraki yesterday met for the first time with President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock, the seat of power.
He joined other dignitaries to participate in the celebration of the nation’s 55th independence anniversary, which was held at the forecourt of the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Buhari has tactically avoided Saraki, who defied the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), which was rooting for Senator Ahmad Lawan, to emerge the Senate president.
The duo has met twice since the controversial election for the Senate presidency, at the last Eidel- Fitri prayer in Abuja and the APC National Executive Committee meeting.
However, yesterday’s meeting was the first time the President and Saraki would be meeting inside Aso Rock, not only since the contentious election, but since the Senate president’s trial by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for alleged false declaration of assets.
However, despite his tactical avoidance of Saraki, the president had met at the State House on a few occasions with House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, who also emerged the speaker without APC’s support. The party backed former House Minority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who was defeated in the June 9 election.
At Thursday’s ceremony, Buhari and Saraki who sat near each other, exchanged banters. There were obvious attempts by the duo to present an air of cordial relationship despite the undercurrents of the raging disagreement between them.
Th’s ceremony, which witnessed the change of guards by the Guards Brigade, is holding for the fifth time in the villa since former President Goodluck Jonathan shifted the event away from the Eagle Square in 2011 after a bomb attack at the venue in 2010.
In an interview with State House reporters, Saraki said despite the nation’s challenges, its future was bright.
He said the National Assembly, under his leadership, would con-tinue to make laws that will impact positively on the lives of Nigerians so ensure the realisation of the expected change the people voted for. According to him, it would not be business as usual in the new dispensation.
“I am hopeful and confident that the future is very bright. In the next few years, things will be even better. “It will not be business as usual. We will ensure that the National Assembly will be people-oriented and will make laws that will make impact on Nigerians,” he added.