The Unity Forum in the Senate is insisting on Ali Ndume stepping down as Senate Leader and Bala Ibn Na’Allah as Deputy Senate Leader as a condition for working with Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Members of the forum want Dr. Ahmed Lawan as Senate Leader with Sen. George Akume as his deputy in line with the recommendations of the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
It was learnt that the new peace terms accounted for the refusal of the South-West Caucus to fill the slot of the Chief Whip of the Senate allotted to it.
But loyalists of Saraki yesterday said “the conditions are like turning back the hand of the clock.”
Some pro-Saraki Senators prefer juicy committees for those in Lawan’s camp.
Lawan’s supporters, according to investigation said that Saraki cannot be seeking reconciliation without making concessions to show respect for party supremacy.
It was gathered that the two sides had met with President Muhammadu Buhari on how to restore the lingering Cold War in the Senate.
While pro-Saraki Senators are pushing for an unconditional reconciliation, those in Lawan’s camp said the Senate President should defer to the party and the crisis will be over immediately he does so.
A reliable source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The loyalists of Saraki met with President Muhammadu Buhari for reconciliation without making any concrete offer to pacify the aggrieved.
“They only said if all the parties are reconciled, they know what to do to accommodate all. That is a flat and tricky reconciliation proposal.
“They were not forthcoming on the fate of Lawan and Akume who are central to the politics in the Senate.”
A respected Senator said: “The aggrieved Senators want Ndume and Na’Allah to step down for Lawan and Akume in line with the wishes of the party. They said the day Saraki defers to the party, the disagreement within the APC Caucus in the Senate will end.
“The Lawan group said it has nothing personal against Saraki but he should make concessions too in order to put the crisis behind the Senate. The loyalists of the President of the Senate want to eat their cake and have it.”
A third source said: “When the Abdulsalami Committee members met with Saraki, they expressed concern that the crisis in the Senate was heating up the polity.
“They also advised Saraki to accommodate all and ensure reconciliation to stabilize the Senate.”
As at press time, it was not immediately clear if Ndume’s recent shuttles to the South-West were connected with the demands of the Lawan group, the position of the South-West Caucus or the peace terms of Saraki.
“I know Ndume is unrelenting in his shuttles and talks with party leaders. He seems to be playing the role of a crisis manager now, the source added.
The letter, referenced APC/NHDQ/NAM/01/015/05, said: “Please find below for your necessary action names of principal officers approved by the party, after excessive consultations for the 8th Senate as follows: Sen. Ahmed Lawan (Majority Leader)–North-East; Prof. Sola Adeyeye (Chief Whip)–South-West; Sen. George Akume (Deputy Majority Leader) —North-Central; and Sen. Abu Ibrahim (Deputy Chief Whip) —North-West.”
But adopting Caucus Politics to sideline the Lawan group, Saraki’s power sharing formula led to the emergence of the following principal officers: Ali Ndume( Senate Leader); Bala Ibn Na’Allah( Deputy Senate Leader); Francis Ailimikhene (Deputy Chief Whip).
Although the office of the Chief Whip was ceded to the South-West, Senators from the geopolitical zone have spurned the offer from Saraki.
The Senators from the South-West insisted that Lawan and Akume must be accommodated before considering any offer from Saraki.
A Senator said: “Our colleagues from the South-West prefer not to fill the Chief Whip slot at all if Saraki does not make concessions.
“So far, they have spurned the office in spite of the fact that a high-ranking Senator, Prof. Sola Adeyeye, has been recommended for it.”
Kwankwaso denies rift with Shekarau
The presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso has said there is no rift between him and the former Governor of Kano, Ibrahim Shekarau.
Kwankwaso who said this in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service said the reports going on that there is a problem with Ibrahim Shekarau are not true and are rumours by mischief makers for the reasons known to them.
Kwankwaso said this while responding to some reports that Senator Shekarau is planning to return to the PDP because the party failed to fulfil the promises made to them before he joined the NNPP.
“There was no agreement between us and Shekarau apart from giving some political positions to his people which we tried to fulfil but there is nothing we can do because it was brought late”.
According to him, most of those brought by Shekarau to get a seat in the NNPP joined the party at a time when INEC would not accept their candidacy because the primary election was over.
He, however, assured that when the Government is formed, they will get key positions.
Senator Kwankwaso added that this will not cause any problem for the NNPP party saying that there is no problem between him and Shekarau.
Details of Tinubu’s meeting with Obasanjo emerge
The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday visited the Penthouse residence of former President Olusegun Obasanjo at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta.
Tinubu visited Obasanjo in company of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbaajabiamila, Chief Bisi Akande and Nuhu Ribadu.
At about 1pm when Tinubu’s chopper landed within the OOPL, he was received by Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, former Governors Segun Osoba and Gbenga Daniel, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Olakunle Oluomo and other top government functionaries.
At about 1:20pm, Tinubu and his entourage went into Obasanjo’s residence to meet their host.
An inside source said the former Lagos State Governor, Abiodun, Gbajabiamila, Osoba, Akande, Ribadu and others first held a meeting with the Balogun Owu behind closed doors.
After about an hour, the former President pulled Tinubu and they both went into a private room for another meeting.
It was gathered that the duo had a private discussion not known to any of those who went in with the APC national leader.
Tinubu later had lunch at Obasanjo’s place before he departed after about two hours.
When he was accosted by pressmen downstairs, the presidential candidate refused to grant an interview as he ‘hopped’ into the waiting bus that conveyed him to the MKO Abiola Stadium.
Tens of APC stalwarts had stormed the former President’s residence, singing, drumming and dancing.
Addressing artisans and APC faithful at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Tinubu said he was not in Ogun State for campaign.
He said: “We love what the governor is doing and we are glad with all the support you have given him. Campaign has not started yet, I’m just here to greet you. Thank you and God bless you. God bless Ogun state, God bless Nigeria, God bless your children. Thank you.”
2023: I will tell you who to vote for as my successor – Wike tells Rivers people
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has said he will inform Rivers people who to vote as the next governor of the state in he 2023 general elections.
Wike said as a governor, he knows all the candidates for the elections so well.
He said he loves Rivers State a lot and as such will not allow the people make a mistake in electing their leaders in 2023.
Wike was speaking at the commissioning of the remodelled Waterlines Building in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
He said “we will tell you those you will vote for, I know and I will tell you who is who.
“Most of you don’t know, there are those who want to come here to just want to be governor with no agenda.
“Rivers State has done a lot of things for us, we owe Rivers state a lot. Personally, I owe this state a lot for giving me the opportunity and I will not allow this state to go astray and run into the hands of armed robbers. I will not allow it”.
The governor also took a swipe at some members of the People’s Democratic Party who he warned that elections are not won in the hotels in Abuja but at the grassroots.
2023: I will tell you who to vote for – Wike tells Rivers people
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