In a bid to avoid the crises of the 8th National Assembly and ensure full control of the National Assembly leadership, President Muhammadu Buhari and leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), have stepped in to ensure the emergence of consensus leadership.
This was the fulcrum of the late night meeting held at the Presidential Villa on Monday night, between the Party leaders and Senators elected on the party platform.
The party Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, speaking with the State House Correspondents after the meeting which held behind closed doors, confirmed that the ruling party met to strategize for the emergence of a consensus leadership for the ninth Senate.
“Of course, we are aware that the opposition is expecting that the APC senators are going to fight themselves, the House of Reps are going to fight themselves and then they will take advantage and pick who they will support. They will be disappointed because our senators are seasoned senators, we have a cream of ranking senators that are in their own right capable of providing leadership of the senate. So, what we have to do is to weave all these together and arrive at a consensus of who leads and everybody follows. So that we will have this time, a more cohesive National Assembly and I think it went extremely well.”
Oshiomhole however, cautioned the lawmakers to avoid a repeat of the mistakes of the past where NASS leadership was hijacked by the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The party wants to avoid the “ horse trading” and absence of consensus which led to the emergence of Bukola Saraki as Senate President of the eighth Senate in alliance with People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s Senators which later produced Ike Ekweremadu as his deputy.
Already, four Senators, are said to have openly indicated interests in contesting for the position of the Senate President.
These include the incumbent Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, former governor of Gombe state, Sen. Danjuma Goje, Senator Ali Ndume and former Abia state governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.
Oshiomhole however called on the lawmakers to work out a consensus approach since the APC senators are in the majority so as not to give room to the PDP members to hijack the Senate leadership.
He is also seeking the President’s direct interventions as the head of the APC political family, to avoid the repeat of 2015 power struggle that resulted in the opposition taking over strategic committees in the Senate.
The party controls 65 out of a total of 109 Senators in the National Assembly and over 230 House of Representatives members, placing the ruling party in a comfortable position to form the leadership
Oshiomhole stressed that it is imperative for the party to get the leadership of the National Assembly right for there to be seamless working relationship between the legislature and the Executive arm of government.
“The system talks about the separation of powers between the executive and legislature and the two must handshake for things to happen. And when you have a president that is determined to drive changes, fundamental changes that will affect our habits, our life style, review the economy, deal with the security situation, fight corruption as fiercely as he is trying to do, he will need a very supportive legislative arm of government” he said
Also speaking on the issue, Zamfara Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, said the Party was out to the mistakes of 2015 and reviewed what happened in the Senate and House of Representatives.
“8Now, we want to go as one APC family notwithstanding our brothers from the other party. We are now talking about Nigeria first. The President requested that we all work for the betterment of Nigeria. As regards the leadership, the president requested that we work hand in hand to ensure that we come out as one family, so that what belongs to majority goes to majority and what belongs to minority goes to minority.
The same poison was echoed by Simon Lalong who was recently re-elected Governor of Plateau state.
According to him, “What the president has done today, I think is the right step in the right direction. The last time we did not have the opportunity of this politics but today, Mr. President invited us. Because, we are governors and we also dialogue with our senators.
“Mr. President said in order to avoid rancour, let me lay the the way forward and we are very happy he has laid the way forward and because of that we are all going to work towards achieving the desire of Mr. President for the good of this country.”
Tony Ailemen, Abuja