The battle of wills rocking the leadership of the All Progressives Congress may soon be over.
Multiple sources told SUNDAY PUNCHthat contrary to his public posturing of defiance, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had started reaching out to some of the aggrieved leaders of the party.
Saraki is one of the gladiators in the clash of egos and wills that followed the Senate leadership election on June 9 and subsequent appointment of principal officers.
The Senate President had earlier visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo to help him beg President Muhammadu Buhari.
He also reportedly met with the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, on the same matter.
During the week, some emissaries sent by Saraki met with President Buhari and sought forgiveness for the Senate President for acting contrary to the dictates of the party.
The emissaries included Senate Leader Ali Ndume, Senator Kabiru Gaya, Senator Adamu Aliero, Senator Danjuma Goje, and Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
A report in a national daily on Saturday also said the emissaries apologised to the President for the individual roles they played in the crisis.
However, sources in the party told SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday that the emissaries also had a brief to meet with the party’s national leader and former Governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu.
Many within the party see the crisis as a battle of wills with Buhari, Tinubu and some party leaders on one side of the ring and the Senate President and his backers on the other side. One of the prominent APC leaders that is believed to have backed Saraki is former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
But sources told our correspondent that Saraki, of recent, had made strenuous efforts to meet and appeal to Tinubu to sheathe his sword.
Our correspondents report that Saraki’s olive branch to Tinubu may mark a turning point in the crisis as the Senate President, before now, had insisted that he would not ‘beg’ the APC leader.
But the sources added that Saraki might have changed his position when all his efforts to get President Buhari to forgive him for his defiance to the party and move on.
It has been widely reported that Buhari has refused all entreaties to host the Senate President at the Presidential Villa since the controversial election in the senate. The President had also said the leadership of the senate should tow the party line.
Two APC officials who spoke to our correspondent yesterday shed light on Saraki’s last two attempts to reach out to the APC national leader. They said that one attempt occurred three weeks ago while the other took place on Thursday in Abuja.
“Three weeks ago he tried to get across to Tinubu through one of his aides. Of course, the aide couldn’t have arranged the meeting. Tinubu’s disposition to the matter is well known,” the source said.
The APC national leader, sources said, had told some of Saraki’s emissaries in the past that the senate leadership should toe the party line.
Another source said the last attempt took place during the week when the APC senators, who met with the President at the behest of Saraki, also tried to get across to Tinubu. A source close to Tinubu said while the former Lagos governor was aware of the move, his position on the matter had not changed.
The source stated that Saraki needed a long-term strategy to pacify the aggrieved party leaders, adding that the Senate President’s is perceived as haughty by some of these leaders.
“It is a surprise that he is reaching out to Tinubu. Saraki has no respect for Tinubu. He is contemptuous of him. During meetings he refers to him contemptuously as “Bola”. In fact there was a time that Tinubu wanted to explain a point to him and he shut him up,” the source said.
The source may have alluded to the cultural norm in Tinubu and Saraki’s Yoruba ethnic group where an elder is not addressed by his first name. Tinubu is 63 while Saraki is 52.
But the source close to the APC leader insisted that the national leader had no ‘ego problem’ with Saraki.
“Tinubu’s take is that the senate should toe the party line. It is not a personal problem at all. If it were a personal problem, the President won’t be reacting the same way.”
The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Lai Mohammed told one of our correspondents on Saturday that the APC believes in party supremacy.
He said, “I can’t comment on the story you are asking me about. However, the APC has made its position on party supremacy known.”
The spokesman for the Senate President, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, could not be reached on Saturday night. Calls and a text message sent to his line were not responded to.