Saraki’s Election Is A Reality, Says Oyegun
THE National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, yesterday declared that having been elected by his colleagues, the Senate Presidency of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki is a reality the party must live with.
Consultations, he said, are still ongoing to resolve the impasse. Speaking to State House correspondents after the Presidential Transition Committee headed by an elder statesman and former Federal Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Ahmed Joda, submitted its report to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Defence House, Abuja, Oyegun, however expressed confidence that the party would come out of the crisis stronger and more determined.
Saraki was on Tuesday elected as the Senate President, in spite of APC’s preference for Dr. Ahmed Lawan from Yobe State. Similarly, Yakubu Dogara from Bauchi State was elected Speaker of House of Representatives in the place of the preferred choice of Femi Gbajabiamila from Lagos State.
The party had been threatening to sanction the two leading principal officers of the National Assembly, using the laid down procedures.
The stance of the party, however, differed from that of Buhari, who offered to work with the two leaders, whose elections he said followed due constitutional procedures even though he believed their elections did not followed the party’s position.
Oyegun said the party had gone through some of the challenges akin to the current one and had come out of them strong, noting that the current situation would not be an exception. “We have faced greater challenges before and this too shall pass away.
Some people are saying this is the beginning of the end of APC. No. It is not the first or second time we have passed through and we came out strong. This may not even be the last time; we come out every time stronger and more determined.”
Asked of the next step for the party, he said: ”There is no next step, what has happened is within the APC family and we are sorting it out within the family. People say they are going to court, which is their right, but as a party we are looking at everything and we are coming out strong.”
On Saraki’s aborted visit to the APC secretariat on Thursday, he said: “Nothing went wrong, there were a lot of consultations and you can’t be in two places at the same time and so it was not comfortable for us, but we have been talking. We don’t want to make a song and dance of it, everything is being put in proper perspective.”
When asked if the party would accept Saraki as the senate President, Oyegun remarked: “Of course, he has been duly elected by his colleagues. We have a reality and we must live with it.”
Meanwhile, Joda has attributed the delay in the completion of his committee’s assignment to the non-cooperation from the past administration with his committee, even as he played down reports that delay in his work had affected appointments of key officials of government.
Speaking with correspondents Joda said: “For about five weeks, we went through memorandum, listening to presentations from all over this country.
Today we submitted about 800 pages of the report to Mr. President. It is now his property and I believe in due course he will begin to act on it.”
Reacting to insinuations that the delayed submission of the report has affected political appointments he said: “One of the terms of references for our committee is to receive the handover note of President Jonathan and this we did not receive until about weeks after our inauguration.
“We received the handover note on the 25th of May and that report was about 18,000 pages and it took time to even sort them out and to make sense from them, read them, analyze them and come up with recommendations. “Political appointment is entirely at the prerogative of the President. He will go through our report and understand our recommendation.
I think he deserves a little bit more time.” Stressing the need for Nigerians to give the present administration some time to settle down, Joda said, “This is not an ordinary transfer of government from one President to the other, in this country we have never witnessed this kind of transition from one political party to another, the political party in opposition won the election. “Previous transition from one President to the other did not require long process like this.
I think this is part of the evolution of democracy. The country has to be a little bit more patient it cannot be with immediate effect.”