Posted By: Onyedi Ojiabor
Several Senators elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are angry with the national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun for allegedly working to scuttle their return to the Red Chambers next year.
The Senators, mainly from Bauchi, Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara, believe Oyegun is working hand in hand with their governors to stop them from getting the party’s ticket for another term.
The lawmakers used the opportunity of last Wednesday’s meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC with the Senate Caucus of the party to vent their anger on Oyegun, according to sources close to the deliberation.
The meeting was essentially to find a solution to the persistent face-off between the executive and the legislative arms, especially the threat by the National Assembly to override Buhari’s veto of the new election order contained in the Electoral Act as amended and the elongation of the tenure of the NWC.
One of the sources said: “Tenure extension is a major issue in the party. Everybody has his own interest. From the body language of senators, it is obvious that most senators do not want Oyegun to continue because of his open romance with some governors.
“Senators who have one issue or the other with their state governors feel that Oyegun is on the side of the governors.”
Some of the senators were said to have expressed misgivings that the party leadership was conniving with their governors to block many of them and members of the House of Representatives from returning to the National Assembly.
Bauchi, Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara were mentioned by the lawmakers as states where the party was looking the other way while the state governors were working to stop Senators and Reps from returning to the National Assembly.
“What it means is that even House of Reps Speaker Yakubu Dogara is not sure of his ticket because of his disagreement with the Bauchi State governor.”
The source added: “In Kogi State the governor, Yahaya Bello, singlehandedly sacked the state exco of the party while Oyegun aided him to hand pick a care taker committee that is not known to the party.
“In Kaduna, the governor, Nasir El-Rufai, demolished the house of Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi and the party has not said anything. All these unhealthy developments were brought to the attention of Oyegun.”
He said that the situation where some people in the party were trying to paint members of the National Assembly black by labelling them anti-Buhari, was also discussed at the meeting.
“A major grouse of the senators is that most of them feel that the party has not provided a level playing field for all members.
“It was explicitly stated that the legislature is the only arm of government that must be in place for there to be democracy in a country.
“Oyegun was also told in plain language that the party is looking the other way while the executive arm of government is trying to demonize the legislature, the only symbol of democracy.
“The party is the body that holds everybody together. As it stands, the party is on its own, the executive on its own and the legislature on its own. The country cannot go on like that.”
The source said that after three hours of frank talks, Oyegun was tasked to ensure unity and proper reconciliation ahead of the 2019 election.
The source said: “That was why the resolution to set up a caucus of the executive, legislature, governors and the party to address issues affecting the party was arrived at.
“It was a frank discussion and we all spoke our minds especially with the realization that 2019 is by the corner.”
Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, told reporters at the end of the meeting on Wednesday that the controversial amendment of the Electoral Act was discussed.
Lawan also confirmed that an agreement was reached to set up a caucus comprising the executive, the legislature, governors and the party to resolve conflicting interests when they arise in the party.