President Mohammadu Buhari has vowed never to have anything to do with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki until he (Saraki) did the needful to move the nation forward through mutual respect for each other, The Street Journal can authoritatively report.
President Buhari who conspicuously left out the name of the Senate president from the list of delegation to the on-going state visit to the US, was said to be angry with Saraki whom he said was prepared to instigate the fall of his government with the connivance of his former colleagues in PDP through an unending crisis in the legislative arm of government.
Hopes of a rapprochement between President Muhammadu Buhari and Senate President Bukola Saraki have continued to fade by the day.
This is because the No. 1 and No. 3 citizens are still not on talking terms despite saying the eid-el-fitr prayers together on Friday July 17.
In a widely publicised photograph, Saraki next to Buhari at the praying ground in Abuja, fuelling speculations that the Ramadan, the Muslims’ holiest month, might have helped to break the ice between them.
But Presidency sources have told our correspondent that if anything, “the relationship has grown colder and the coming weeks promise to be very tense between the two men”.
There are no phone calls, private meetings or exchanges of correspondence between them, according to Presidency insiders.
It was learnt that Saraki had tried all possible avenues to have a one-on-one meeting with Buhari but did not get the green light, although both men have met in public on a couple of occasions and produced the obligatory handshake and smile.
Efforts by some top members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to broker a truce have failed, with Buhari insisting that Saraki’s “act of betrayal” will not go unpunished.
Saraki, who co-ordinated fund-raising efforts for Buhari for the 2015 presidential election, was elected Senate president when the National Assembly was inaugurated on June 8.
The party preferred Ahmad Lawan, who is also thought to be Buhari’s choice although the president openly denied having any personal choice.
The situation was further worsened by the choice of principal officers outside of the senators picked by the party hierarchy.
The crisis generated by the national assembly leadership elections has continued to stall legislative proceedings as the APC tries to assert its authority on its preferred candidates.
Not a single motion has been passed by either of the chambers since the inauguration which also produced Yakubu Dogara as Speaker as against Femi Gbajabiamila preferred by some key APC figures.
Saraki and Dogara, both defectors from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were endorsed by their former party in the National Assembly leadership race.
Both chambers are expected to resume on July 28 after shifting the date from July 21 in order to allow for tensions to die down and outstanding matters to be resolved.
The Street Journal reports that all entreaties by the former president and Head of State, Olusegun Obasanjo and Abdusalam Abubakar for Buhari to forgive Saraki were to no avail. Buhari was said to have insisted that principle of party supremacy must be respected by the leaders of the National Assembly. Buhari, it was gathered pointed it out that everyone including himself did not win elections without a political platform which in this case is APC.
Buhari insisted that if discipline was not maintained in the party now and call Saraki and his cohorts to order, the future of the party remained bleak. He however, said the findings of the police investigation into the alleged manupulation and forgery of the Senate Rules and Order would determine the faith of Saraki in the new government.
It was gathered that buhari was particularly miffed by the ‘dubious election’ of Ike Ekeremadu of PDP as Deputy Senate President with the connivance of Saraki and his APC Senator accomplices in the eighth Senate. A presidency source confided in the Street Journal that Buhari was quoted as saying that he doesn’t care if Saraki and his APC cohorts defect back to PDP. Our source quickly added that the president was also prepared for any eventuality, insisting that any member of the National Assembly that defects from his party to another party must be prepared to vacate his seat in the Senate or House. He said the president insisted that theera of impunity was over for good in the country party politics.
It was further gathered that Buhari was particularly angry with both Saraki and Dogara for their obstinacy and disrespect for his office and APC leaders, who had consented willynilly to the mischief of their ascendancy to the position of Senate president and Speaker of the House in controversial circumstances, in order not to rock the boat of the new government. It was learnt that Buhari would not understand why both Saraki and Dogara could not acced to the demands of the party in sharing the other principal offices in both chambers and get cracking in the huge task of rebuilding the country.
Our source noted that Saraki ought to be part of the president’s delegation to the on-going US visit but for the frosty relationship between the No1 and No3 citizens in Nigeria.
The Street Journal reports that the crises in the National Assembly exacerbated by the alleged forgery of the Senate Rules accounted for the postponement of the resumption date of the Senate and House of Representatives from today to next week Tuesday, July 28, 2015 to buy time for an amicable resolution of the crises. Regrettably however, both parties to the crises have maintained their ground while legislative functions suffer.