Barely 24 hours after the controversial inauguration of the Eighth Senate, Senate President Bukola Saraki and his loyalists have started reaching out to his rival, Senator Ahmed Lawan and 50 other aggrieved senators shut out of the process.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The President of the Senate and members of his group of Like Minds, have started reaching out to Lawan.
“They have also sent emissaries to him on how the issues arising from the choice of the Senate President and Deputy can be resolved. They are asking for what can be done.
“It was learnt that at a stage, Lawan had to switch off his phone when the pressure became persistent from some senators and eminent Nigerians who were soliciting on behalf of Saraki group.”
Also yesterday, Dr. Saraki, in a statement from his media office, urged all members of the National Assembly to put politicking behind them and settle down for the proper business of legislating.
“Our country is going through very trying times. We have the challenge of insecurity in the Northeast. The massive problem of youth unemployment and general economic challenges occasioned by mako fall in revenue. All these against the huge public expectation that propelled our party into office. We have pursued our legitimate aspirations appropriately. Now that the issues have been settled, we need to move on in the larger interest of our people without whose mandate we would not have been in a position to aspire to these positions in the first place.”
He expressed his readiness to embrace every member of the Senate, regardless of their political leanings in the leadership elections.
Saraki described President Muhammadu Buhari’s reaction to Tuesday’s election of National Assembly leaders as a “great mark of leadership” and a demonstration of the President’s commitment to democracy.
He lauded Buhari for remaining steadfast in his commitment to the principle of non-interference in National Assembly politics even in the face of great pressure on him to act otherwise.
“This shows that Mr. President is a man of great conviction who, in his own words, belong to everyone and to no one,” he stated.
Saraki denied that he planned to defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He described the insinuation as “absurd and laughable”.
“It is just cheap blackmail by political adversaries who want to call a dog a bad name in order to hang it,” he said, adding:
“And those making such desperate allegations should remember that I willingly left the PDP on matters of principle when the party was in power.
“Is it now that the party is out of government and in opposition that I will now return, having worked so hard for my party in the last general elections?”
He stated his commitment to the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying he remains a loyal party member and a leader of the party, committed to contributing his quota to building the party and helping it to deliver its promise of change to Nigerians.
It was also learnt that a team of 10 Senior Advocates of Nigeria on Tuesday night met with Lawan and volunteered to handle his brief in court.
Lawan is expected in court today to challenge the election of Saraki and the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.
The position of Lawan is that the Senate was not “properly constituted” for the election of its principal officers.
According to the legal advice made available to Lawan, if two-thirds of members of the Senate can remove a Senate President or deputy, only two-thirds must be present for the election of the same officers.