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Buhari, Party Disagree Over Saraki, Dogara

Posted: Jun 10, 2015 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

President Accepts Election, Party Rejects Outcome • No Comment– Tinubu  • It’s Beauty Of Democracy 

– Babatope, Erubami

By Chesa Chesa, Abuja, Akinwunmi King and Temidayo Akinsuyi (Lagos) and Oladele Ogunsola (Ibadan)


President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Tuesday, disagreed over Tuesday’s masterstroke that produced Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara as Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The duo beat the APC’s adopted candidates for the National Assembly top jobs.

While Saraki (Kwara West) defeated Ahmed Lawan (Yobe), Dogara humbled Femi Gbajabiamila (Lagos).

Another novel dimension to the election was the emergence of Senator Ike Ekwerenmadu as Deputy President.

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

The APC, in a statement issued in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, rejected the emergence of Saraki and Dogara, but release by the Presidency said Buhari has accepted to work with the new NASS leadership.

The statement by Buhari’s Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Femi Adesina, shortly after the emergence of the two leaders, said the President’s decision was in line with an earlier pledge to work with whoever emerged as leaders of the legislature.

He said although Buhari would have preferred that the process of electing the leaders as initiated and concluded by the APC had been followed by the lawmakers, “nonetheless, the President took the view that a constitutional process has somewhat occurred.”

Adesina recalled: “President Buhari had said in an earlier statement that he did not have any preferred candidate for the Senate and the House of Representatives, and that he was willing to work with whoever the lawmakers elected.

“That sentiment still stands. Though he would have preferred the new leaders to have emerged through the process established by the party.”

The president, he added, stressed that the stability of Nigeria’s constitutional order and overall interest of the common man were uppermost on his mind, as far as the National Assembly elections were concerned.

Buhari therefore, called on all the legislators to focus on the enormous task of bringing enduring positive change to the lives of Nigerians, Adesina said in his first press statement since his appointment over a week ago.

But the party’s statement described the process that produced the duo as totally unacceptable and the highest level of indiscipline and treachery, insisting that the new NASS leaders “are not the candidates of the APC and a majority of its National Assembly members-elect for the positions.”

Mohammed recalled that the party duly met, conducted a straw poll and clear candidates emerged for the posts of Senate President, Deputy Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, supported by a majority of all Senators-elect and members-elect of the House of Representatives.

“All National Assembly members-elect who emerged on the platform of the party are bound by that decision. The party is supreme and its interest is superior to that of its individual members.

“Consequently, the APC leadership is meeting in a bid to reestablish discipline in the party and to mete out the necessary sanctions to all those involved in what is nothing but a monumental act of indiscipline and betrayal to subject the party to ridicule and create obstacles for the new administration,” the statement read in part.

APC decried a situation where some people, based on inordinate ambition, indiscipline and disloyalty, would enter into an unholy alliance with the very same people whom the party and indeed the entire country worked hard to replace, and then sell out the hard won victory of the party.

“There can be no higher level of treachery, disloyalty and insincerity within any party”, the party said, vowing to resolve the matter using all constitutional and legal means available to it.

Saraki’s emergence has also been described as a honest compensation for members of the new PDP that contributed five decampee governors and ultimately the success of the APC at the last general elections.

Ask to speak on the election, APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu, who was leaving the International Conference Centre in Abuja, was reported as saying: “I have no comment, I have no reaction.

Meanwhile, the PDP, in a statement denied responsibility for the APC’s woes, vowing to stand with the new NASS leadership.

Reacting to the development on Tuesday evening, former Minister of Transport, Ebenezer Babatope, described the emergence of Saraki and Dogara as the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively, as the beauty of democracy.

Babatope, a member of the PDP Board of Trustees, said the development is a testimony to the fact that things will change for better in Nigeria, being a new beginning for the country.

“Believe me, the era of one party dominating the National Assembly is gone. Today, we have Saraki of APC and Ekweremadu of PDP, presiding over the affairs of the Senate. It is a testimony to the fact that many things are going to change in Nigeria,” he added.

On his part, President and Convener of Nigeria Voters’ Assembly (VOTAS), Mashood Erubami said Tuesday’s incident at the NASS, is a manifestation of the beauty of democracy.

He explained: “For democracy to thrive, it must be nurtured by deliberative politics, which takes into account the interests of all as against self firstism. The new conglomeration in the Senate will allow for real practice of balanced democracy that will enable treatment of issues dispassionately without bias and the current political dispensation will be better for it.

“Nigeria should learn from the lesson of best practice from this development and make it a part of a new move to adopt multi-stakeholdership government and a new model of political approach to governance,” he stated.

Also reacting, a legal practitioner and lecturer at the University of Ibadan, Doyin Odebowale, agreed with the APC, describing the development as treachery at its height for which “the Saraki family is notorious.

“We must, however, not fail to note that there is no difference between APC and the PDP, in terms of ideology. It is regrettable that a party rejected by Nigerians must be consulted on all issues.

“While some may see this development as good for our democracy, those who think deeply will know that Buhari regime will be castrated. It is incumbent on Nigerians to own the process,” he added.

Commenting on Facebook, Veteran journalist and former Managing Director of New Nigerian Newspaper and Daily Times, Chief Innocent Oparadike, said: “To understand the happenings at the National Assembly this momentous day, one has to appreciate the fact that the ruling APC is a special purpose vehicle contrived by strange bed fellows who entered into a marriage of convenience to wrest political power from the PDP and get rid of an unwanted Jonathan. The vehicle has served its purpose. We now have on our hands a polygamous marriage where it is grab all you can for your mother’s corners. In real life President Buhari is a monogamist. In politics he has to learn the fancy foxtrot of polygamy. In politics he has become the accidental political polygamist.”