NASS Leadership: APC Still Confused Over Saraki, Others
DESPITE its insistence on sanctioning Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara and all party members that covertly or overtly worked against the its directives during the recent election of the National Assembly leadership, the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) appears to be in a fix on how to carry out the sanction, The Guardian learnt yesterday.
A member of the National Working Committee (NWC) from the Southeast, who pleaded anonymity, said the party’s leadership was in a dilemma following the studied silence of key leaders, state governors, members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) and the Presidency on the issue since the incident.
“We are in a dilemma now, because we are not getting enough support from majority of our key leaders in our move to sanction the erring members in this saga. “During our meeting on Thursday, we looked at the possibility and likely sanctions against the errant members. We also looked at our constitution and our power within the constitution to punish erring members.
“We discovered that while we have such power to sanction, such sanction is meaningless without its ratification by the members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party. “Before and after the NASS elections, majority of the NEC members had privately and personally expressed their disappointment over how we, the party leadership, mismanaged the situation.
“They have been apportioning blame on us for failing to lead the party well when it mattered most and have been advising us to allow the sleeping dogs lie on the matter and embrace the National Assembly leadership,” the member disclosed. On whether the party’s leadership would still sanction Saraki and others and convene a NEC meeting to ratify it, the member said it was not in their agenda now, as they were consulting major party leaders on the way out of the situation.
He said: “We are already soft-pedaling on Dogara’s emergence after meeting with the Femi Gbajabiamila group on Thursday.
“We understand the implication of further crisis in the party now. That is why we are threading with caution. Some people accused us of compromise in the whole saga, but it is not true.
“We may compensate Gbajabiamila and his group with other principal offices, like Majority Leader and others, as the party has the right to decide who occupies them.” When asked whether Saraki and Dogara have reached out to the party leadership, the member said such might have happened at the personal level, “because we have not heard from them officially.”
A former national leader of the defunct Congress of Progressives Change (CPC) and member of APC’s NEC from the North told The Guardian yesterday that the party’s leadership lacks the power and morality to punish Saraki, Dogara and others, having been responsible for what befell the party during the NASS election. According to him, the party leadership failed the members by the way it handled the whole thing, only to be crying foul now.
“We are waiting for the party leadership to sanction Saraki, Dogara and others and bring it to NEC meeting for ratification. It is there that we will expose them to Nigerians to see the kind of leadership they have provided for the party and how they have been doing the bidding of one man to the detriment of party unity. “We have evidences of compromise and failure against the NWC members.
They were busy chasing rat while their house was on fire. It is very unfortunate, but good for democracy and the party leadership to take correction.”
Speaking on the issue, another member, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, said he was at a loss on why some people are criticising President Muhammadu Buhari’s insistence on the doctrine of separation of powers regarding the emergence of Saraki and Dogara.
Okechukwu said: “This question becomes germane, because the leadership of the APC seemed to have glossed over this profound philosophical trajectory when they descended into the arena, openly conducted mock election and penciled down names for various offices and committees.
“They were unmindful of the fact that this is not only at variance with the stand of Mr. President, but also at variance with our change mantra and pledge to erase the culture of impunity and enthrone good governance.
“Methinks that it is better for those who wish Mr. President, a man whose political capital is integrity, transparency and forthrightness, well to at all times endeavour to desist from dragging him into the murky corners of the political terrain.
“Critics may quip that there is no way he can run away from the murky corners of the political terrain, however, it can to a large extent be avoided.
“For instance, if the leadership of our party had toed his line and admonition, as the leader of the party, by avoiding interfering openly in the election of the NASS principal officers, probably the outcome could have been different.
“It is still early in the day for the uncommon candour, spartan and selfless life of the President to be internalised by members and leadership of our great party, so as to reinforce his commitment to deliver the social contract he has with the good people of Nigeria.”
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