The President spoke yesterday on the National Assembly crisis, saying he expected the All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers to toe the party’s line in the election of principal officers.
Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday announced the names of principal officers and adjourned plenary till July 21.
President Muhammadu Buhari said: “The party did a straw poll – an open and transparent one – which should have been respected. There is no confusion about anything. The party did a process, the President had wished that the party would take that to the very end but that didn’t happen,” presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said.
“The President has a responsibility to the party; the President has a responsibility to the nation and as far as we are looking at the situation, it has not gotten out of control. It is still within manageable parameters; it is a little storm. We will overcome and Nigerians better get used to it,” he added while speaking on Channels Television.
Although APC senators maintained the peace in spite of the disagreement of the Senator Ahmed Lawan‘s supporters with the list of principal officers announced by Saraki, which is in contradiction to that sent to the Senate President by the APC, the party rejected Saraki’s list.
On Saraki’s list are: Senate Leader Ali Ndume (Borno South), who is standing trial for alleged link to the terrorist sect, Boko Haram, Bala Ibn Na’Allah (Kebbi) Deputy Leader and Francis Alimikhena (Edo) Deputy Chief Whip. The name of the Chief Whip was not read.
Last night, APC National Secretary Mai Mala Buni issued a statement tittled: “National Assembly crisis: We stand on our list of principal officers.”
The statement said: “The All Progressives Congress (APC) has strongly condemned what transpired at both chambers of the National Assembly on Thursday, June 25th 2015.
“The party stands by the list sent by the party to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“The National Caucus, Board of Trustees (BOT) and National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party will meet within the next few days to discuss the evolving developments in the National Assembly.”
On the party’s list are Lawan (Majority Leader); Prof. Sola Adeyeye (Chief Whip); Sen. George Akume (Deputy Majority Leader); and Sen. Abu Ibrahim (Deputy Chief Whip).
For the House, the party listed Gbajabiamila (House Leader); Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa (Deputy House Leader); M. T. Monguno (Chief Whip) and Hon. Pally Iriase (Deputy Chief Whip).
The President was expected to show leadership in the resolution of the crisis, but, according to Shehu, he offered not to interfere to assert the independence of the legislature.
He said Buhari provided guidance while he left the APC leadership and governors to resolve the logjam.
He added: “Politics, as its theory says, is basically about contest for interests and these interests may be fully defined by political party programme (while) some of these things may be outside political party programme.”
”They just cannot file up in a single line and say ‘here we are, we are all present’.
“When the governors met with the President, they told him that ‘we are the leaders in our states and we have influence over all of these senators. They come from our places and from us and we can handle it.
“The President mostly listened to what they were saying and in fairness to them, the governors took responsibility for the way forward.
“They advised the President to maintain his posture not to be seen to be meddling in the affairs of the National Assembly; ‘stay above it and allow us to handle it’ and I think this is what you saw coming from the governors.”
“As a leader, the President has given guidance… His own position is that if the eye troubles you, whatever medicine you’re going to apply, don’t put a pin. The President is not unconcerned.”
As a result of tension in the National Assembly, state chairmen of APC were locked in a meeting last night in Abuja.
No fewer than 28 of the 36 chairmen were in Abuja.
A source said: “The chairmen were shocked that the party’s directive was disrespected by Senators and Representatives.”