Wednesday, 15 July 2015
APC crisis: Buhari launches rescue mission
• Meets Atiku, Oyegun, govs, others
By WILLY EYA
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday initiated a rescue mission for the All Progressives Congress (APC), with a meeting aimed at dousing tension and saving the party from further crisis.
The APC has been embroiled in crisis following the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara as Senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives respectively, against the party’s wish. The APC leadership had endorsed Senator Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila as preferred candidates for Senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives, ahead of the National Assembly inauguration on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, which could not materialise.
Shortly after returning from South Africa, where he attended the Africa Union (AU) summit, Buhari met behind closed-doors, at his Aso Drive residence, with former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, alongside some leaders of the APC, including embattled National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Katsina State Governor, Bello Masari and Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura.
Although the agenda of the meeting was not made public, Daily Sun gathered that the president impressed it on those present that the APC must not only overcome the disappointment over the National Assembly leadership elections but also move on as a united political party.
Sources said Buhari mandated Atiku and others present to use their influence to ensure that all the aggrieved parties bury the hatchet, so that APC would remain one cohesive entity.
Following the meeting with Buhari, Oyegun last night also met with other members of the National Working Committee (NWC), in his attempt to ensure that the president’s wish for a united party is achieved.
Since APC’s preferred candidates lost at the National Assembly leadership elections, the party has been in turmoil. Some party chieftains, unhappy with the development, had blamed the party’s leadership for the loss.
One of those who felt that the APC leadership should be blamed for the turn out of events at the National Assembly is former Kano State governor and now a sitting senator, Rabiu Kwankwaso.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Monday, Kwankwaso blasted Oyegun over the APC crisis, saying what happened was due to leadership failure.
Kwankwaso said APC’s inability to push through its preferred candidates in the National Assembly had divided the party but refused to back calls for the resignation of the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
The senator said the South-East must be given its dues by the APC, arguing that Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu’s election was a fallout of APC leaders’ many mistakes.
He accused the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party of poorly handling issues concerning the zoning of Senate president and House speaker.
Asked to specifically state what the party did wrong, he said: “APC did the right thing at the wrong time. The party missed crucial opportunity to fix the issue of zoning. The party missed some important steps and things went wrong.”
Kwankwaso, who was a supporter of the Ahmed Lawan/Akume Group, said the APC gave the Bukola Saraki group an opportunity and seized it.
He said: “the party gave ample opportunity to Bukola group and they used it effectively. They used the advantages that came to them as a result of the mistakes of the party.”
Listing some of the factors that swayed some senators, he said some lawmakers believed that former Lagos State governor had taken a lot and needed to be stopped. Besides, he said some people backed Saraki because of what he did for them in the past.
Further lampooning the party on its handling
of the whole thing, Kwankwaso, who was the former Minister of Defence, noted that some lawmakers believed Odigie-Oyegun’s NWC did not consult them as would have expected. “Many lawmakers believed that the party would have done more in terms of consultations with them,” he said.
… Party’s governors step in
From FRED ITUA, Abuja
The raging crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) might soon come to an end, following the decision of governors on the platform of the party to intervene.
Chairman of APC Governors’ Forum and Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, who briefed the media on behalf of other governors of the party last night in Abuja after a meeting that lasted for over five hours, said the contentious issues rocking the party would soon be resolved.
The governors, who were about 12 in number, also begged the Federal Government to bail out states as they struggled to pay workers’ monthly salaries. The governors said the dwindling oil revenue had affected the fortunes of the states and therefore needed immediate bailout.
Okorocha said: “We the governors of All Progressives Congress met today (yesterday) to review the state of the economy. We also met to review the issues as it affects our great party. First, on the economy of the nation, we are concerned and worried by the dwindling revenue of the states, which today has affected negatively the lives of our people.
“It has become so serious and urgent actions must be taken for a bail out for the states. States are not getting better either. We sat down to review what steps could be taken. We are calling for overhaul of the system to block all the leakages in our economy.
“We have realised that what we are going through today is as a result of the poor management of our economy. The APC government met a near empty treasury. This has become very worrisome, not just for us, but for the entire nation.
“We also have congratulated the leadership of the National Assembly. We are aware that the process attracted a lot of disagreement here and there. We, the governors of the party, have resolved to embark on a peace process to make sure that we return as members of one family we have always been.
“We have also discussed to strengthen our party. This is the party that brought change and that change must stand. We will make the party meet the desires of our great members. We are ensuring Nigerians that we will remain focused and address some of the issues.”