Following the outcome of the primaries conducted by the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the weekend in Abuja, the losers have begun discreet plot to take out their anger on the party as well as the leadership of the incoming National Assembly.
The primaries had produced Senator Ahmed Lawan and Senator George Akume as sole candidates for the positions of President and Deputy Senate President of the 8th Senate respectively.
According to the National Secretary of the Party, Mala Buni, who served as returning officer, 33 Senators were accredited to vote, with Lawan getting 32 votes, while one was declared invalid
Lawan’s emergence is a big blow to the ambition of Senator Bukola Saraki, who was in fact, the first candidate to indicate interest in the position.
For the green chamber in the National Assembly, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila polled 154 votes out of 182 votes to beat Yakubu Dogara.
This means that the Lagos-born representative is APC’s sole candidate for the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the 8th Assembly.
But Saraki and his loyalists boycotted the election, alleging imposition.
Two days before the Abuja primary, his supporters under the aegis of Senators of Like Minds, in a statement jointly signed by Senator-elect, Dino Melaye, and Senator Ahmadu Sani Yerima, warned of dire consequences if any candidate was imposed on them.
“Senators must be allowed to choose their own leaders as impositions will only bring the ‘Banana Peel’ back to the Senate. We should adhere to the rules of the senate in choosing the next Senate president,” they said.
“In so doing, experience, acceptability and merit should be of prime importance. Imposition, harassment, intimidation and name dropping as well as threat will not produce the senate president of the 8th senate.
“We preach change, we must act change,” the group added.
It was further gathered on Sunday that the ‘Banana Peel’ expression used by Saraki’s supporters was more than a mere statement.
An aide to a party chieftain in Lagos on Sunday said, “the incoming Senate will divide if Saraki does not emerge.”
“From what I know, the supporters will not only set booby traps for the Senate leadership, they will deliberately oppose bills and also stage walk-outs at slightest, provocation.”
The source said the allegation that President Muhammadu Buhari preferred Lawan was not helping matters.
On what options are before Dogara who lost to Gbajabiamila, the source stated that the former too has sworn to fight back.
“Honestly, most people knew he (Dogara) didn’t stand a big chance and I am surprised he is taking the outcome so hard. Gbajabiamila is head and shoulders above him, so he shouldn’t even be making this much noise.
“But according to what I heard, he is trying to team up with Saraki. They are trying to form like a ‘losers’ cabal’, the type of union formed when people feel defeated or short-changed.”
“He and his supporters to may go the same way of the Saraki group. The strategy is simple: oppose even when you shouldn’t just to bring down your opponent.”
“Both camps are not putting out their strategies, but some we have heard.”
It was however gathered that the APC leadership was already considering available options to compensate Saraki and Dogara.
The two lawmakers may be offered top positions in the new NASS leadership.
Similarly, a few of their vocal supporters may get chairmanship positions of juicy committees in their respective chambers.
Meanwhile, the party on Sunday urged all its lawmakers-elect to put the interest of the party first by supporting the consensus candidates elected to lead the 8th Assembly.
A statement issued in Abuja by APC scribe, Mai Mala Buni, said that it is natural for some members to be disappointed by the outcome of the straw poll that was conducted to select the party’s official candidates for the posts of Senate President and Speaker.
It, however, urged the lawmakers to put the interest of the party above personal interests and avoid a situation whereby any other candidate, apart from those picked by the party, will emerge as Senate President and House Speaker on Tuesday.
“Any outstanding issue 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,” it assured.
“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,” it said.
It explained that its role in the entire business of ensuring a common front within the party ahead of Tuesday’s election with the fielding of one candidate for each post had been achieved. The statement appealed to all aggrieved members to sheath their swords and allow peace to reign, in the overall interest of not just the party but the entire nation