Buhari, Tinubu, Atiku Meet NASS Over Senate President, Speaker Seats

Tinubu and Buhari• Gbajabiamila’s Camp Confident Of Victory
• Saraki Campaign Group Challenges Lawan To Publish List Of Supporters

AHEAD of Tuesday’s inauguration of the 8th National Assembly, leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are billed to meet with both the newly and returning members of the National Assembly today.

President Muhammadu Buhari, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu and the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun are among chieftains of the party billed to attend the parley holding at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

The Guardian gathered that the parley is aimed at keeping the peace among National Assembly members who are split over the choice of their respective candidates.

While Messers Femi Gbajabiamila and Yakubu Dogara are slugging it out for the seat of the House of Representatives Speaker, Senators Bukola Saraki and Ahmed Lawan are neck deep in the squabble for the Senate Presidency seat.

Meanwhile, the campaigns for the Senate Presidency recorded a twist yesterday as the Senator‎s backing the election of Senator Bukola Saraki publicly challenged those on the side of Senator Ahmed Lawan to publish the names of senators in their camp.

In the House of Representatives, the camp of one of the leading contenders, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, is believed to enjoy 90 per cent of support in North East and North West, the two zones that delivered the highest votes in the last presidential election, and is sure of victory.

With his overwhelming support in the South West and North Central, Hon. Gbajabiamila seems to be coasting home for victory in grand style.

It was gathered that of the 48 members from the North East, 40 members had so far pledged loyalty to the Gbajabiamila camp.

The source said that most of the members from the North West are strongly behind the Lagos born politician, who recently stepped up his charm offensive with a view to consolidating the supports.

“As I am talking to you, majority of members from the North East have already endorsed Mr. Femi. There are only few who are still sitting on the fence. We expect them too to join soon as we are working very hard on this.

“His emergence as our next Speaker is just a matter of formality as we are very sure we have the number,” he explained.

Findings, however, show that last minute scheming has put Gbajabiamila in the pole position as many members of the PDP have shown support to the cause.

The permutations are firmly in favour of his candidacy as the majority of caucuses from the North West, North East and North Central are with him even as he is confident of getting bloc vote from his stronghold, the South West.

The Saraki Campaign group under the aegis of “Senators Of Like Minds” in a statement signed by their spokesmen, Senators Dino Malaye (Kogi State) and Ahmed Sani Yerima (Zamfara State) cautioned against any attempt to impose a candidate on Senators, adding that such attempt would enthrone a regime of instability in the Senate.

The statement noted that experience, merit and acceptability should be the main considerations for determination of the next Senate President.

The group also lamented that the leadership of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) had not been able to conduct a primary election to pick it’s candidate for the nation’s number three position.

Tagged “Senate Presidency:  Senators of Like Minds: Our Position”, the statement reads:‎ “In view of the controversy on the numbers of the senators supporting Senator Bukola Saraki and Ahmed Lawan for the Senate presidency of the 8th Senate, we challenge them in the same manner to publicly exhibit the names and signatories they claim that consist of their supports in the Senate.

We equally urge them to consolidate it further by submitting the names of the senators that have passed a resolution endorsing Ahmed Lawan as the next Senate President as we, the Senators of the Like Minds, did when we submitted the names and signatures of the 34 senators endorsing Senator Saraki on May 24, 2015, as the next Senate President.”

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  • Proud Yoruba

    Sorry, but Saraki will not win. If he insists in causing trouble, he may jeopardize his future political ambition. He is junior to Lawan in experience and a light weight!

    • Hosea

      U r talking rubbish what do u mean by seniority?
      I wonder why people who have nothing to contribute in times of comment, they still keep making baseless comments

    • Akoko

      Saraki has executive experience, been governor for eight years, headed the PDP governors forum and chaired a major committee. What executive experience has Lawan got, or name one bill he has co-sponsored in all his time in the senate.

  • Zaardak

    Is a pure lie!!
    Who are the 90people Gbajamiala is claiming??
    Who is fooling who???
    Then, apc is not ready if they impose him as a Speaker.
    Gbajamiala is going no where!!!!
    Or he should name his supporters in public


  • New Nigerian

    I understand how Yerima and Saraki are “senators of like minds” both being ex-governors bent on preserving the senate as the retirement club and playground of ex-governors. How is Dino part of this club? My memo to Dino would be to focus on the need of the down trodden people of Kogi West and I’d submit that this partisanship of his does not help these graceful people – I encourage him not to fall into the “Smart Adeyemi” mindset of carrying the water for oligarchs. Dino should maintain his independent mind, he is a rookie senator who has not even sat in one senate session yet – so why is he jumping the gun and becoming the campaign manager for Yerima and Saraki bent on perpetuating Oligarchy and not democracy….Kogi West do not believe in Oligarchy, if they did they would have returned Smart Adeyemi back to the senate – a word is enough for the wise.

    Now with that said – Senators Saraki, Yerima (and Akume) are Oligarchs and the common sense revolution would be totally compromised, if they were to dictate the pace of the next senate session as Senate President – unless or until – they stop the double dipping from the federation account by virtue of earning pensions that they awarded to themselves as governors + vowing to reduce the jumbo pay they awarded to themselves as Senators (which is an egregious form of corruption). On behalf of the poor people of their respective states I say loud and clear, we the masses are asking for this and APC there NOT take the masses for granted, for how can we afford to pay single individuals so much from federation account:

    Anyone can google and receive this publicly available information on the pensions – as we speak – of Both Sen (Ex-Gov). Yerima and Saraki (Akume and others all over the land enjoy similar):

    “””….Apart from Lagos, Rivers, Kwara State ex-governor will get three cars every three years.
    The Kwara Pension Law was first passed in 2003 and approved by former governor, Mohammed Lawal, which stipulates that, qualified ex-governors and their deputies be paid pension for life, without other perks like accommodation, cars and other perks.
    The law was reviewed in 2010 by former governor Bukola Saraki, now a senator, with the support of the Kwara House of Assembly imposed outrageous raises on all the benefits.
    The current Kwara state governor’s pension law gives an ex-governor two cars and a security car, replaceable every three years. The governor is also entitled to a “well-furnished 5-bedroom duplex”, furniture allowance of 300% of his salary (which totals over N6 million).The law also provides the governor five personal staff paid for by the state, eight policemen, three SSS operatives(of which one must be a female), free medicals for the governor and the deputy.
    Other entitlements are 30% of salary for car maintenance, 20% for utility, 10% for entertainment, 10% for house maintenance. Senator Saraki is currently drawing a monthly salary and a quarterly allowance of at least N40 million.
    According to Premium Times, in Zamfara State, a similar law was signed in 2006 by ex-governor Ahmed Sani Yerima, which gave him and other former governors pension for life, two personal staff, two vehicles replaceable every four years, two drivers, free medical for the former governors and deputies and their immediate families in Nigeria or abroad. The law also gives the former governors a 4-bedroom house in Zamfara and an office, free telephone and 30 days paid vacation outside Nigeria.”””

    So let these ex-governors come clean and say they’d stop double-dipping from the federation account with impunity – it is impunity because they awarded themselves these compensations – also let them make a vow that they’d do the needful to cut their self-awarded compensations at the senate to size and I’d take their canvassing to be senate president seriously.

    Unless this is done – and assume it will not be even if they promise such – then the leadership of the APC party should step in and re-focus the minds of these senators on the “change” mandate which should not be a still birth due to Oligarchs within their midst. We the people are fully tuned-in and trust that APC party would NOT let the masses down. We the people are heartened by the report in the newspapers in April 15, 2015 timeframe that President Buhari would move against these pensions from the federation account – this tussle for the senate presidency may as well be the first line of proactive defence of these illicit double-dipping by the ex-governors – so APC party-leadership should do the needful (independent of President Buhari) to remove this senate-induced booby trap from the path of President Buhari to deliver on the strong mandate of killing corruption, banishing insecurity and delivery job-creating economic growth replete with social welfare safety net for the masses.

    God Bless you all as you deliberate and resolve this to the benefit of 90% Nigerians who live on less than $2 a day (inclusive of 70% who live on less than $1 a day) who by the way are the ones who braved wind, rain, sun, bullets to vote APC into power. May God make the dividend of the change revolution manifest in the lives of the masses.

    • Akoko

      We can all agree that the pension scheme and perks enjoyed by ex presidents, governors, senators, and representatives is outrageous, but how does that disqualify Saraki?
      Lawan, who has been in the senate for eight years also voted to raise the perks and benefits of senators. Likewise Tinubu passed a pensions bill that allowed him to inherit lagos state house in bourdillon.
      To single out Saraki, when it is so obvious the whole political system is corrupt, is in my opinion unfair. Besides, you said it in your own words, ” he passed into law”. If it’s law of the land, it can’t be illegal, whether we like it or not.

      • Sahalu Saidu

        In a democracy or any moral form of government, gross self-enrichment (those numbers are beyond gross) is undemocratic and therefore illegal. This is not pointing the finger at one person, be it Saraki or someone else, simply saying, if laws are not based on sound moral principles, then we are, a land of men, not of laws. Might as well be honest and say every man to himself.

    • Sahalu Saidu

      Thank you for enlightening us. If this is true, then this level of illegal and most certainly immoral wealth transfer to the already wealthy is absolutely mind-boggling. This is really hard to believe; “truth is stranger than fiction indeed”

      There is nothing legal in this arrangement. “Legal” especially in a democratic environment connotes ethical and fair laws, otherwise the whole idea of “legal” is an oxymoron. This is pure conversion of public assets and speaks directly to the moral bankruptcy of our political system. The rape of a nation and a people in broad daylight.

  • curtis uwuigbe

    I strongly propose that the declaration of assets should also include the declaration of income. This would help expose hidden income like the Governors pensions… I suggest we get a fresh senator without those unreasonable Government pensions. Enough of bad, corrupt behaviours! President Buhari should scrutinise the background of those vying for the positions of Senate President and House Leader. They should be qualified to the standards of the Assets declaration, independent and corrupt practices. It should be noted that the quality of the Senate President and House Leader will greatly impact the performance of the Government of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Senate President and House Leader must have the same vision as our Constitution for our country to succeed in her anti-corruption drive. President Buhari must be involved in the selection process for these key leaders as he will be answerable to the outcome of his government.

  • Dan

    Why can’t APC just let this go through the democratic process? Put it to a vote using secret ballot. Let the House decide those they want to occupy these positions. So far, nothing suggests that APC has learnt from the mistake made by PDP which resulted in the emergence of Honourable Tambuwal as Speaker of the House

  • General Niger Delta

    Buhari pretends to look the other way whilst calling himself “Mai gaskiya”. Any clean muslim will tell you that Mai Gaskiya is an attribute of Almighty Allah alone Forinstance, he knew that he could defeat Jonathan who prima facie was not even the candidate of PDP. Buhari knew that Professor Akasoba Duke-Abiola would defeat him( Buhari) any day any time at a presidential election he, therefore, cunningly acquiesced with clueless Jonathan who stole Professor Abiola’s presidential nomination form and went and failed. Buhari knew that PDP’s lack of internal party democracy, though to his advantage, was undemocratic yet he pretended and looked the other way. Ask any true muslim if a “mai gaskiya” can behave in this manner.

  • imamm lateef

    bukola saraki have executive experience down lawan, saraki can be a senate president