Why APC Chairman changed course
By Jide Ajani
Embarrassed by the needless threats and vitriolic vituperation from the leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as a result of the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara as Ssenate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively, President Muhammadu Buhari has prevailed on leaders of the party to sheathe their swords.
In fact, it took a personal communication between Mr. President and Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, before the breaks could be applied.
Consequently, it was Chief Oyegun who told State House correspondents on Friday after a brief meeting with the President that the party has accepted Saraki and Dogara as leaders of the National Assembly – its 8th session.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that Buhari, who had just a few hours after the emergence of the senator and the House member, issued a statement through his Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Femi Adeshina, congratulating them and averring that a constitutional process has just taken place, used the opportunity of the presentation of the handover notes on Friday, to speak directly with Oyegun on the matter.
Sunday Vanguard was also able to confirm that Oyegun, sensing the tone of the communication between him and Mr. President quickly used the opportunity of the press chat to make the detour, “as demanded by President Buhari”, a source revealed.
Oyegun’s recant was in complete opposition to the earlier position, though unspoken, taken by APC’s National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, whose hands and legs were alleged to be in the heated politicking to ensure that Senator Ahmed Lawan and George Akume emerged as Senate President and Deputy Senate President, respectively, while Femi Gbajabiamila emerged as Speaker of the House.
Indeed, sources close to Buhari informed Sunday Vanguard that by Wednesday, after the Senator Barnabas Gemade-led Unity Group members of the Senate took their oath, and the drama that followed with the walkout and the threat of litigation, made worse by the snubbing of Senate President Saraki by wife of APC’s National Leader, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the President and a few people in is inner circle were beginning to get worried.
Therefore, it was agreed that before his trip yesterday to South Africa for the Africa Union Summit, the matter must be laid to rest.
It was this decision that informed the presence of Oyegun at Friday’s meeting after which he spoke to members of the press.
It was a difficult pill for a section of the leadership of the APC to swallow as almost all stops had been pulled to ensure that Lawan and Akume emerged, just as it was hoped that Gbajabiamila would win the speakership. It all turned out to be fools’ errand as none of these materialized.
Even the last minute name-dropping, of summoning a meeting of APC legislators for 9am on Monday morning knowing that the inauguration was slated for an hour later, and claiming that the meeting was called by President Buhari, a situation which strangely gave way to the loss and comeuppance, did not bode well with Mr. President.
And whereas he had grudgingly agreed to attend the meeting that morning in honour of the party, President Buhari had been very insistent in maintaining that he would not interfere with the process that would lead to the emergence of the leaders of the National Assembly.
Sunday Vanguard was made to understand that whereas backroom channels were also used to call some leaders of the party who were baying for blood to order, Buhari had been making it known to those who had sought his views on the emergence of Saraki and Dogara that the peace, stability and progress of Nigeria far outweighed any individual’s ambition “to be in charge”.
And although the source bluntly refused to be dragged into explaining the veiled phrase, political observers were clear in their perception that APC’s National Leader may have been the arrowhead of the wing of APC that wanted Lawan and Akume as well as Gbajabiamila.
All attempts to get some leaders of the party to comment on the matter were unsuccessful.
In fact, one of the leaders of the APC was so bitter about Oyegun’s statement that he charged: “Go and ask the chairman who made the statement”.