The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, in a letter written to the All Progressives Congress, said his hands were tied with regard to the selection of principal officers of the upper chamber. This was contained in a Friday report on www.thecable.ng.
The National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, had on June 23, written to Saraki, stating the party’s choice of principal officers of the senate.
The APC had nominated Ahmad Lawan as senate majority leader, George Akume as deputy majority leader, Olusola Adeyeye as chief whip, and Abu Ibrahim as deputy chief whip. However, Saraki, on Thursday, announced Ali Ndume as majority leader, Bala Na’Allah as deputy majority leader and Francis Alimikhena as deputy chief whip after the various APC senate caucuses nominated them.
In his letter dated June 25, Saraki was said to have explained to the party that the APC senate caucuses had already taken a decision on the matter before he received Odigie-Oyegun’s letter.
Saraki’s letter read, “The said letter (Oyegun’s letter) was received after various APC zonal caucuses had taken their decisions to candidates as principal officers of the senate in line with parliamentary convention and the extant provisions of the senate standing orders 2015 as amended.”
The Senate President said, “Furthermore, whilst one is strongly persuaded to toe party line and act in accordance with the suggested party position, regrettably clear provisions of our extant rules and standard parliamentary convention have not given me that leeway to act otherwise.
“Therefore, my hands are tied in the circumstances and I seek your understanding in this regard.”
However, he added that without equivocation he remained “loyal to our great party and its leadership and also fully committed to the change agenda of the Mr. President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the APC in Ondo State has said that the party is not to blame for the leadership crisis in the National Assembly.
The party said Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, should be blamed for the division in the party.
The party’s Publicity Secretary in Ondo State, Omo’ba Adesanya, in a statement on Friday, stressed that the party had played its role by giving directives and that it was left for the leadership of the Assembly to follow such directives.
The statement partly read, “The party leadership had, after an exhaustive meeting with governors and executive members of the National Assembly, issued a directive, but Saraki and Dogara refused to carry out the directives.
“Instead of doing that, they connived with the Peoples Democratic Party members in the Assembly to realise their personal ambitions.
“As principal officers representing APC in the National Assembly, they are expected to carry out the party’s directives in terms of who occupies the positions.
“Therefore, Nigerians should hold Saraki and Dogara responsible for the crisis rocking the National Assembly. They are working against the party that sponsored them by initiating an unholy alliance with the PDP to truncate the ‘change’ that the people expect.”