Buhari still angry over National Assembly crisis
THERE are indications that the ongoing crisis in the National Assembly may have forced President Muhammadu Buhari to postpone the nomination of his ministers.
This is in addition to the fact that the government is yet to conclude work on the report of his transition committee, which will determine the number of ministers to be appointed.
A national leader of the party who spoke to The Guardian last night said the President is still livid with the crisis in the National Assembly, particularly the refusal of the APC lawmakers to adhere to the party directive on the candidates for the various offices in the Assembly.
He also dismissed today’s caucus meeting of the party, saying there was no meeting of such as being speculated. He added that a national executive council of the party is scheduled for Friday to look at ways of finding lasting solution to the problem.
The party leader who is angry at the present crisis in the party over the emergence of leaders of the National Assembly, said the President was not presently disposed to the leadership of the two chambers for aborting the latest directives of the party on the appointment of principal officers of the party in the two chambers.
The situation, it was gathered, may have accounted for the refusal of the President to play host to either the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara despite efforts made by them to meet with the President.
It was gathered that contrary to the belief that the President was neutral in who emerged as the Senate leader, he was actually rooting for the emergence of Senator Ahmed Lawan as the Senate President.
Buhari was said to have confided in some leaders of the party, including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande and the governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari on his preference for Lawan.
It was gathered that the President’s preference for Lawan forced Tinubu to jettison his preference for former governor of Benue State, Mr. George Akume.
Besides this, The Guardian gathered that Tinubu was only carrying out the instruction of the President, who is not comfortable with Saraki and his ability to cooperate with the President in his fight against graft.
Essentially, the national leader said the contention of Tinubu has been that the country should follow the model of America where the minority becomes the leader of the two chambers immediately their party wins at the centre. This, he said, accounted for his decision to back Akume as Senate President and Femi Gbajabiamila as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Besides, he said, it is the stand of Tinubu that the North Central should be compensated for their support for Buhari, pointing out that this is the first time the middle belt would vote massively for a president.
But having been told of the President’s preference for Lawan, he dropped his support for Akume and asked him to be deputy Senate president.
He explained that despite the President’s preference for Lawan, the National Working Committee still believes that all the lawmakers angling for leadership positions in the two chambers go for popularity test among their colleagues which Lawan and Gbajabiamila won while Saraki and Dogara boycotted it, claiming that the outcome had been predetermined.
The party leader also explained why Lawan was not popular among his colleagues from the North East saying many of the leaders from the zone are looking forward for bigger appointments within the party which they think Lawan may scuttled if he won the Senate presidency.
For instance, Atiku wants to be the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the party while the zone is also seeking to produce the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
Already, three candidates are being propped for the SGF including a former occupant of the office in the past and a secretary to a state government in the North east.
On the efforts made to resolve the crisis, he said the party in the immediate is trying to ensure cohesiveness but noted that what matters most is how to ensure discipline within the rank and file of the party.
He pointed out that Buhari believes in party supremacy and has demonstrated this by insisting on the party’s position on the emergence of the leadership of the two chambers be followed.
Insisting that Buhari holds the ace in resolving the crisis, the leader said the crisis would not affect the performance of the President.
He pointed out that unknown to the public, the President has been working with the federal permanent secretaries and had been giving directives to them on state matters.
On the role of Tinubu in the crisis, he said some individuals have seen Tinubu as too powerful and were out to reduce his influence but added that their initial opposition to Lawan was due to the fact that they had thought he was Tinubu’s man
The party leader who claimed he was once asked by a sitting senator and former governor to tell Tinubu to back off his support for Lawan or face stiff hostility from the North.
He said, unknown to them, Tinubu was only carrying out the directive of the President, adding the main preoccupation of Tinubu is the success of the Buhari administration
On the role of certain leaders in the crisis, he said it is not true that former Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi and Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun worked against the party.
He said an earlier meeting held by the defectors from PDP in the house of a former national chairman of the party, there was no unity among them as to how to grab the Senate presidency seat for the nPDP faction of APC.