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National Assembly Resumes as APC Senators Meet Over Saraki

Some senators of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had an emergency meeting last night over the fate of Senate President Bukola Saraki, Daily Trust reports.
The senators, it was gathered, met at a location in Abuja to decide on how to go about the removal of the Senate President following his defection from the ruling APC to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Although details of the meeting could not be ascertained at the time of filing this report, it was gathered that the senators debated seriously on Saraki with others arguing that the party was not fair to some of them.
Both chambers of the National Assembly have been on an annual recess of over two months since July 24 but they are due to reconvene today.
The lawmakers will, however, postpone the sitting to Wednesday to honour late Rep Princess Funke Adedoyin, who passed away about two weeks ago.‎ This is part of the tradition of the National Assembly.
After Saraki’s defection on July 31, some APC senators vowed to impeach him from the Number 3 citizen’s seat, saying the party must retain the position since it has majority in the Red Chamber.
Also, the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole had at different times said Saraki must vacate his seat. He reportedly promised the APC lawmakers automatic tickets for them to be able to remove Saraki.
Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan had during the APC National Convention on Saturday in Abuja said the APC Caucus in the Senate would “force through a lot of things and pass the budget for INEC and the security agencies for the 2019 elections.”
But Deputy Minority Whip, Biodun Olujimi, said Lawan “should not cause tension and problem in the Senate. He should not promise the APC what he cannot deliver. Nigerians should hold him responsible if the Senate is unable to sit because the leadership of the Senate is not by party affiliation, it is through an election among all the senators.”
An APC senator, who secured his return ticket, told Daily Trust last night that it would be difficult for them to be committed to Saraki’s removal as the party treated many of them “unfairly.”
The senator, who did not want to be named, said while the APC national leadership gave some senators automatic tickets, it left others to go and slug it out.
The senator also noted that a lot of APC senators that did not get their return tickets would join other parties such as the PDP to realize their ambition of returning to the Senate.
“Since we started the move and I saw that they were not serious, I just went to seek my people’s mandate for reelection.
“There’s a caucus meeting this night. But the issue is that the way we fought the whole thing, in the end, we were not regarded as anything. Many of our colleagues are discouraged. Even our religion, we practise it because of the reward God has promised us.
“Some people were given automatic tickets, while others were not given. APC hasn’t been fair to the National Assembly members. Most importantly, they have been discriminatory in treating us. They allowed some of us to go through the exposure and difficulties before coming to say they want to give them automatic tickets,” the senator said.
The lawmaker added that: “The APC system hasn’t been fair to us at all. Seriously, members won’t be much committed to the party as before because there’s no reward, there’s no evenn recognition. Most members went and spent their resources and even lost out.
“Most of those that lost out will defect because the other parties will just substitute the names of others with theirs. There’s impunity by the party, especially the national chairman. He’s behaving like a dictator. His interest is just Buhari, but the president alone is not APC. Buhari is just a part of APC. Instead of him to build the party, he wants to destroy it.”
A member of the House of Representatives also told Daily Trust that dozens of his colleagues in the APC would join other parties as they were denied return tickets through manipulations.
The APC reps, it was gathered, were angry that their state governors have hijacked the process of the party’s primary elections to favour new entrants into the race.
In states where there are no APC governors, it was learnt that the hijacking was done by officials of the party in the states in cahoots with some officials of the party at the national level.
The aggrieved lawmakers are likely to join other opposition political parties in order to realize their ambition of returning to the Green Chamber, it was further learnt.
The affected lawmakers spread across almost all the 36 states of the federation.
One of the affected lawmakers told our correspondent that if the national secretariat of the party did not take any concrete action, they will dump the party within this week as they resume from their annual recess.
“We don’t want to allow injustice to be meted out on us. We want them to allow a free and fair process so that whoever emerges, we will all be satisfied with the outcome.
“Look at what they (APC) did to some senators by giving them automatic tickets. Don’t we deserve same? Are most of us not loyal to the party too? So, we should also be considered for automatic tickets or they should allow a free and fair process,” one of the lawmakers said.
Atiku, others move to support Saraki, Dogara
Sources said yesterday that PDP presidential candidate and ex-vice president, Atiku Abubakar and other forces that supported him in Port Harcourt have moved in to protect Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara who defected to the party.
One of the sources said: “Atiku has many of his men and women in the Senate and House of Representatives; he has started talking to them to stand for Saraki and Dogara.
“The struggle for the control of the National Assembly is beyond what happens between now and May 2019; it is what would happen when the 9th Assembly would be inaugurated.
“The PDP would want to have majority in both chambers because that is the only way Atiku would have a smooth sail when he wins the presidential election,” the source said.
Daily Trust recalls that the APC had advised Saraki and Dogara to vacate their seats and allow for the reconvening of the National Assembly to attend to urgent and pressing national issues.
“You need to understand that the party can’t back down on the move to remove Saraki and Dogara if they fail to leave honourably. It’s not possible for members of the minority party to continue to preside over the majority party. Within the next 48 hours, the party’s position on the issue will be made known”
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