PICTURES: President Buhari Hosts APC Governors, Senators-Elect To Dinner

 

President Muhammadu Buhari hosted Governors and Senators-Elect on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to dinner on Monday evening.

Channels TV gathered that the main purpose of the dinner was to hold talks about the leadership of the National Assembly.

READ ALSO: PDP Congratulates Bauchi, Benue, Sokoto Governors-Elect

Those present at the event were Governors, Nasir El-Rufai, Abiola Ajimobi, Akinwunmi Ambode, National chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole and a host of other elected APC Senators.

Below are photos from the event:

Defected APC Lawmakers Willing To Return, Says Lawan After Meeting Buhari

 

The Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, says the members of the National Assembly who defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) will return to the party before the general elections in 2019.

Senator Lawan disclosed this to reporters on Wednesday night after President Muhammadu Buhari met with the senators on the platform of the APC at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The lawmaker revealed that during the meeting which lasted for about 30 minutes, the President was briefed about the number of APC senators which he said was 53.

He added that the PDP has the largest minority with 48 members of the Senate while the African Democratic Congress (ADC) has two senators.

Defected APC Lawmakers Willing To Return, Lawan Says After Meeting Buhari
Senator Ahmed Lawan addressing reporters at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on July 25, 2018.

 

Senator Lawan noted that less than 24 hours after 14 of their colleagues defected from the APC, they have shown willingness to retrace their steps.

He revealed that while the defection was as a result of disagreements in the party, the defected lawmakers expect some members from the opposition party to join the ruling party.

The lawmaker representing Kaduna Central, Senator Shehu Sani, also attended the meeting, although he said it does not mean all his grievances have been addressed.

Senator Shehu Sani addressing reporters at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on July 25, 2018.

 

But Senator Sani was confident that the leadership of the party chaired by former Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole would be able to resolve all contending issues within the party.

Mr Oshiomhole, who also attended the meeting, told State House correspondents that those defected from the APC were misinformed.

APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole addressing reporters at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on July 25, 2018.

Thirteen senators announced their defection from the APC to PDP on Tuesday while one other lawmaker was undecided on which party to join.

The senators who joined the opposition party included embattled lawmaker Dino Melaye, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and Suleiman Hunkuyi, who was suspended by the Kaduna APC.

Some of the other senators were Abdulazeez Nyako (Adamawa), Barnabas Gemade (Benue), and Ibrahim Dambaba, Shaaba Lafiaji (Kwara), Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara), and Monsurat Sunmonu (Oyo), among others.

Reps Jubilate Over Defection Of APC Senators

Some members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday received the news of the defection of some All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators with jubilation.

Lawmakers from the Peoples Democratic Party were seen jubilating and chanting solidarity songs at the lobby of the National Assembly building before the reps began plenary.

When the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, arrived at the lobby of the chambers, the excited lawmakers welcomed him by shouting his name, Dogara! Dogara!

The Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila was also received by the excited lawmakers with jubilation.

PDP Senators’ Walkout Does Not Affect Legality Of Ministerial Confirmation – Ndume

WalkoutSenate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, has said that the decision of PDP senator to stage a walkout to protest the confirmation of former Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi does not render the confirmation illegal.

He explained that the Senate session had a full attendance in the morning and formed a quorum when the meeting started, adding that the PDP senators decision was voluntary and would not affect the attendance on record.

He also added that the number of senators required to form a quorum was 33 while the APC senators had 48 members in the Senate. Therefore, despite the walk-out the Senate maintained a quorum.

He described the walk-out as an expression of feelings democratically, “I have the experience, I was one time the Minority Leader and I did that too. This happens in some democracy,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, described the confirmation as a deliberate effort by the APC senators not to follow laid down rules.

“It was agreed in previous sittings that when a petition is made against any nominee and he is at the point of confirmation, we shall discuss the outcome of the petition.

“Majority of those who signed said that this particular case that concerns our brother is in the court and in normal circumstance it becomes sub judice; it is even in the Court of Appeal and we have to give an opportunity to the court to make a determination.

“We are not against the clearance of any nominee or Mr President because as senators we want the President to succeed but we also have to follow the rules, we have to make sure that Nigeria is a country of laws and not a country of impunity.

“That was the reason why we staged a little bit of walkout to protest the fact that we were going against our rules and we were more or less breaching a major aspect of legality,” Akpabio said.

Saraki, Ekweremadu’s Emergence Is A Plus For Buhari – Ita-Giwa

Ita-Giwa Senator Florence Ita-Giwa believes the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as the President and Deputy in the Nigerian Senate is a plus for President Buhari’s government.

The former PDP lawmaker was the guest of Politics Today on Channels Television where she analysed the recent controversy in the National Assembly, especially the ruling APC’s disapproval of Saraki as the party’s candidate for the position.

Providing an explanation for her stance, she said that the decision of the President not to interfere in the affairs of the National Assembly is a plus for the President as it is a fulfilment of his promise to the nation.

She further explained, “The emergence of Saraki and Ekweremadu from PDP and from the Ibo part of the country would help both of them work together with him.

“The APC victory is good but its not a comfortable victory (because) a whole part of the country did not vote APC and if I were in his shoes I will try to make friends with that part of the country because there will be another election and if you’re running the country you need the country to be together.

“You make sure that those from South-East are well integrated into your government. There’s no other way to unite the country,” she said, adding that Nigerians would “now see that its an all inclusive government.”

Ita-Giwa advised the President to seize the opportunity to establish strong cordiality with the legislature.

Experience and Intellect

Senator Ita-Giwa also sees no reason why Saraki’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) should have tried to impose their will on the Senate.

She expects the APC to “respect the wish” of the Senate as the House is made up of mature politicians who would not easily accept decisions being made for them.

“Do you know what it takes to get to the Senate? That 109?

“You would have grown, successful, you’re knowledgable, you’re not a kid. So it will not be easy for somebody to sit outside and decide for you who you want to be your leader.”

She noted also that the decision of the senators to elect Saraki must have been informed by his qualification.

“Saraki has the experience, he has the intellect, the knowledge, the pedigree. His father was a wonderful senate leader. APC should be proud to have such a man become their Senate President.”

She said further, “The danger we have in this country is picking who ‘the leaders’ want. You should pick what is good for the country, not what the party wants because at this time we are talking about Nigeria, your interest should be Nigeria and those in that chamber represent the interest of Nigeria.”

APC’s Grouse

Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had expressed displeasure with the outcome of the National Assembly leadership election, calling it ‘Treachery’.

Contrary to the party’s choice of candidates in a mock election, Mr Bukola Saraki emerged the Senate President while Mr Yakubu Dogara clinched the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Although both persons are members of the APC, the party had chosen Senator Ahmed Lawan for the Senate President’s position and Honourable  Femi Gbajabiamila as its candidate for the position of the Speaker.

Asides both men losing out, the major twist was the emergence of Senator Ike Ekweremadu from the minority Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the Deputy Senate President.

Senators from the All Progressives Congress (APC) threatened to take all necessary political and legal means to challenge the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President.

The Senators, under the platform of the ‘Unity Forum’, said that the process, which saw Senator Saraki emerge along with an opposition Senator as Deputy, was unconstitutional and could not confer legitimacy to the Senate President.

The ruling party, APC, also said the outcome of the elections of the two chambers was “totally unacceptable” referring to it as “the highest level of indiscipline and treachery“.

The party, however, later said that it had decided to live with the reality of Saraki being the Senate President, saying the party would come out from its challenges stronger.

NASS Inauguration: Saraki Swears In 28 Absent Lawmakers

LawmakersNigeria’s newly elected Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has sworn in 28 lawmakers who were absent from the National Assembly inauguration.

The Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Salisu Maikasua, administered the oath of office on the 28 Senators-elect on Wednesday.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, were elected on the floor of the red chamber on Tuesday, contrary to the desire of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Despite the party’s displeasure with the election of Saraki, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed his readiness to work with the elected Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.

He noted that he did not have any preferred candidate for the Senate and the House of Representatives, adding that he is willing to work with whoever the lawmakers elected.

Treachery

The APC had, at a straw poll, chosen Senator Ahmed Lawan as the party’s candidate for the Senate President’s position and Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, as the Speaker of the 8th National Assembly. None of the choice candidates was elected for the position in the Tuesday election, a development that the APC described as treachery.

To further push the party’s displeasure with the process that brought Senator Saraki in, some APC Senators earlier on Wednesday threatened to take all necessary political and legal means to challenge Senate Presidents’s emergence.

PDP Adopts Saraki, Dogara For NASS Leadership

PDPThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has adopted Senator Bukola Saraki for the position of Senate President.

In the same vein, the PDP has adopted Hon. Yakubu Dogara for the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The PDP disclosed this on Tuesday morning in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh.

There has been a seeming crack in the All Progressives Congress (APC) after some lawmakers walked out during the party’s mock election to elect its candidates for the leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly at the weekend.

The June 6 straw poll produced Mr Femi Gbajabiamila as the APC candidate for the House of Reps Speaker, while Ahmed Lawan emerged as candidate for Senate President.

The supporters of Mr Yakubu Dogara for the position of Speaker were reported to have staged a walkout from the election, alleging that undue advantage was given to Mr Gbajabiamila enabling his supporters mobilise themselves in large numbers to ensure his emergence.

The same scenario played out at the election of the candidate for the position of Senate President, which Senator Bukola Saraki’s supporters also boycotted.

The PDP has now urged its senators and members-elect in the National Assembly to “act accordingly” with regards to its adoption of Saraki and Dogara as preferred candidates for the coveted positions.

NASS Leadership: APC Is Nothing But A Honest Broker – Mohammed

APCThe National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Lai Mohammed, says the party would resolve its in-house crisis over the choice of candidates for the leadership of the upper and lower chambers of the National Assembly.

Speaking to Channels Television via the telephone on Tuesday morning, ahead of the election of the principal officers of the National Assembly, Mohammed said that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress has been “a honest broker” in the matter.

“The party’s position is very simple. We will not go to the floor of the National Assembly with more than one candidate for the post of Speaker and that of the Senate President.

“What we did was the most democratic. We arranged for a straw poll where the members of the National Assembly elect will choose who will be their candidate.

“There must be discipline in the party, at the same time, there must be cohesion in the party and this is what we are trying to achieve,” he said.

He revealed that efforts to ensure the resolution would continue ahead of the NASS election with President Muhammadu Buhari scheduled to address all APC House members-elect and Senators-elect at 9AM on Tuesday.

He maintained the party’s impartiality in its conduct of the June 6 straw poll from which Mr Femi Gbajabiamila emerged as candidate for the House of Reps Speaker, while Ahmed Lawan emerged as candidate for Senate President.

The supporters of Mr Yakubu Dogara for the position of Speaker were reported to have staged a walkout from the election, alleging that undue advantage was given to Mr Gbajabiamila enabling his supporters mobilise themselves in large numbers to ensure his emergence.

The same scenario played out for the election of the candidate for the position of Senate President, which Senator Bukola Saraki’s supporters also boycotted.

“I think we are very much on track. We have not imposed any candidate on anybody, we’ve asked the people to choose their own representatives, our sole aim being that we will not go to the floor of the National Assembly with more than one candidate in the party,” Mohammed said.

He believes the APC’s move, rather than being tagged an imposition, should be seen as an act that epitomises democracy.

He reminded the lawmakers that they did get into the National Assembly as independent candidates but on the platform of the party, “If you could accept the guidelines for primaries why can’t you accept the guidelines for this straw election?” he asked.

He, however, said that if at the end of the meeting with the President, the lawmakers refuse to shift grounds and all decide to contest on the floor of the National Assembly, the party is “not short of options”.

Dogara Could Accept Deputy Speaker Position If Offered – Abubakar

DogaraA member-elect of the House of Representatives, Yunusa Abubakar, believes the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, should have convinced the entire party of their candidate’s competence for the position of Speaker rather than impose him on them.

Abubakar, from Gombe State, who is a supporter of Yakubu Dogara in the race for the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Monday.

The conversation bordered on the controversial primaries held by the APC to elect its sole candidate for the position of House of Reps Speaker, from which Mr Femi Gbajabiamila emerged.

Abubakar accused the APC leadership of stage-managing the process in order to edge out his candidate for reasons he could not explain.

“The party had its way, but the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria says that the National Assembly has its own rudiments and constitutional ways of electing their leader.

“Leaders of the National Assembly are not elected outside the two chambers of the National Assembly,” he said.

Giving a rundown of how proceedings went at the ‘election’ on Saturday, Mr Abubakar alleged that undue advantage was given to Mr Gbajabiamila due to his supporters’ prior knowledge that the meeting was planned to be an election.

He believes this enabled his supporters mobilise themselves in large numbers to ensure his emergence.

The Dogara supporters were reported to have staged a walkout from the election and Abubakar explained that they were left with no option after they appealed to the party leaders to postpone the election to allow fair representation of both candidates and they refused.

He condemned a situation whereby the party has decided to meddle in the affairs of the parliament when both the party and President Muhammadu Buhari had promised that the independence of the House would be guaranteed.

At the Saturday election, a total of 154 APC lawmakers voted for Mr Femi Gbajabiamila and this means he would need just about 27 more votes on the floor of the House to emerge as the elected Speaker.

Abubakar said, “I can confidently tell you that there is an appreciable number of those people who did the so called voting on Saturday that have presently now signed our register as members of the Dogara camp.

“We are now convinced that their number has been depleted within the APC camp.”

Mr Abubakar also deflated the possibilities of being accused of anti party activities as he expressed the view that the party made mistakes in its handling of the matter and the Dogara camp should rather be appreciated for appropriating the party to redeem its image.

Deputy Speaker

There have been reports that a lot of meetings have been going on since Sunday evening, ahead of the main election on the floor of the House, which is slated for Tuesday, May 9.

Abubakar expressed confidence that his candidate, Yakubu Dogara, would be nominated on the floor of the House and would emerge victorious with Hon. Lasun from Osun State as their preferred candidate as Deputy Speaker.

Asked if the Dogara camp would accept the position of Deputy Speaker if the APC leadership offers this as part of resolution, he said, “That is dialogue, let them put it on the table, let them convince us. If they convince us then we are OK.”

He, however, stated that they have had no contact from the party with regards to dialogue and finding an amicable resolution. He refused to state what their demands would be, should the party call them for a resolution.

He added that if their candidate loses on Tuesday, they would concede defeat, noting that their refusal of the APC process was because it was done wrongly.

He said that the current APC style is “business as usual” which they would always frown at.

APC Reaches Out To Aggrieved Members On Senate, House Leadership

APCThe All Progressives Congress (APC) is reaching out to all its members in the incoming 8th National Assembly who may be aggrieved after the emergence of the party’s official candidates on Saturday.

The party said in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by its National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, that it is natural for some members to be disappointed by the outcome of the straw poll that was conducted to select the party’s official candidates for the post.

At the APC election, Senator Ahmed Lawan emerged for Senate Presidency while Femi Gbajabiamila was elected for Speaker, House of Representatives.

“However, we must put the interest of our party above personal interests and avoid a situation whereby any other candidates, apart from those picked by the party, will emerge as Senate President and House Speaker on Tuesday.

“Any outstanding issues will be resolved by the party so we won’t go into Tuesday’s election with more than one candidate each for the two posts, Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives,” the party said, adding that it would be a shame if, despite its majority in both chambers of the National Assembly, the APC is unable to produce a Senate President and a House Speaker of its choice.

APC explained that its role in the entire business of ensuring a common front within the party ahead of Tuesday’s election is that of an honest broker, saying its goal of ensuring that the party does not go into the election with more than one candidate for each post has now been achieved.

The party appealed to all aggrieved members to sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign, in the overall interest of not just the party but the entire nation.

Senate Presidency: APC Senators Backing Saraki Explain Mock Election Boycott

bukola sarakiA group of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators called ‘Senators-Elect Of Like Minds’ have given reasons for boycotting a mock election held by the party to select the candidate that will vie for the Senate Presidency.

In a statement on Sunday, the Senators said they would only participate in the election for the seat of the principal officers of the Senate which is organised by the National Assembly.

An in-house election was organised on Saturday by the National Working Committee of the APC for the position of Senate President and the deputy.

One of the Senators vying for the party’s candidacy, Senator Bukola Saraki and some Senators boycotted the election that saw the emergence of Senator Ahmed Lawan as the APC candidate for the Senate Presidency.

In a statement signed by Senators, Dino Melaye and Ahmed Sani, the group also maintained their opposition to the use of the open ballot voting for the elections of principal officers of the Senate, describing it as primitive, undemocratic and against universal electoral norms and practice.

“To us, this open ballot voting is primitive; undemocratic and against universal electoral norms and practice.

“In the light of the above, we the Senators elect of Like Minds hereby insist on our position of Open Secret voting process which we believe is in consonance with the provisions of the electoral act, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the universal electoral values.

“As responsible citizens of Federal Republic of Nigeria, and leaders in our own right, we have resolved and hereby state that we shall not be part of a process that promotes undemocratic electoral process that may resort to rancorous and uncivil situations which inhibits the rights of individuals to vote for the candidate of their choice, as this process will further divide us than unite members of our party,” the statement read.

The group insisted on the use of open secret voting process for the upcoming elections and also invited the media to a joint press conference by 65 senators-elect drawn from different political parties on Monday.