NASS leadership: Saraki, Dogara Vows To Defy APC Consensus Arrangement
The crisis within the All Progressives Congress over the choice of candidates for the speakership and the Senate presidency of the 8th National Assembly deepened on Sunday as candidates not endorsed by the party’s leadership vowed to contest the elections on Tuesday.
The crisis in the APC was widened at the weekend after some national officers of the party organised a mock election to pick a candidate for Senate President and Speaker with Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara losing out.
Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila won the ballot among the members-elect after Dogara pulled out alleging that it was an ambush as he was never informed that the meeting with party elders was to be a mock election.
In his absence, Gbajabiamila, the outgoing Minority Leader of the House, polled 153 votes to the three polled by Dogara. Dogara yesterday rejected the result, saying that in his absence he could not have been nominated for what he called a mockery of democracy orchestrated by a few national officers.
The same incidence occurred among the APC senators-elect where Senattor Ahmed Lawan emerged the APC sole candidate with Saraki working out on the proceedings.
The party leadership was, however, last night rallying round to quench the dissent with an appeal for unity, saying the party must not enter tomorrow’s leadership contest as a divided party.
The party said in a statement in Abuja by its National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni said: “However, we must put the interest of our party above personal interests and avoid a situation whereby any other candidates, apart from those picked by the party, will emerge as Senate President and House Speaker on Tuesday.
“Any outstanding issues will be resolved by the party, so we won’t go into Tuesday’s election with more than one candidate each for the two posts, Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives,” adding that it would be a shame if, despite its majority in both chambers of the National Assembly, the APC is unable to produce a Senate President and a House Speaker of its choice.
APC explained that its role in the entire business of ensuring a common front within the party ahead of Tuesday’s election is that of an honest broker, saying its goal of ensuring that the party does not go into the election with more than one candidate for each post has now been achieved.
The party appealed to all aggrieved members to sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign, in the overall interest of not just the party but the entire nation.
Both the Saraki and Dogara camps were, rebuffing the entreaties from the party last night as they were pushing to go to the floor to determine the leadership contest.
It was gathered that as part of the strategies to consolidate its grip on the block votes of the PDP in the House that the party could be offered a significant position in the House by the Dogara group.
That appeal was, however, of little effect in the camp of supporters of Senator Bukola Saraki’s aspiration for Senate President and those for Rep. Yakubu Dogara’s speakership ambition who were insisting on taking the
battle to the floor of the Senate and the House of Representatives.