The National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, stormed the National Assembly to stop the ongoing plan by the Senate to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2018.
The NWC, led by the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, visited the National Assembly to lobby the Senate Caucus of the party.
The leadership of the ruling party first went straight to the office of the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, where they held a meeting briefly with the leadership of the party at the apex chamber before proceeding to the Senate Hearing Room 1, where they met with the entire APC Caucus for about three hours.
Although the press was not allowed to cover the meeting, a source told New Telegraph that the major issue discussed by the APC leadership and the Caucus was how to ensure that the Senate did not go ahead to override Buhari’s veto.
The source also said that the party chieftains discussed the issue of multiple crises engulfing the party at all levels across the country and how to resolve them.
It was further learnt that the APC senators took time to express their displeasure over the way and manner the President had treated some contentious issues causing rift between the Senate and the Presidency.
According to the source, the senators specifically insisted that the party should prevail on Buhari to sack the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, if he wanted peace to reign between him and the parliamentarians.
It was further learnt that the legislators called on the party hierarchy to call the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to order over his reckless utterances about grave issues of security menacing the country.
New Telegraph was also informed that the issue of the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, was raised and the senators, through the President of the Senate, told Oyegun to call him to order as well because of the controversies he had generated in the course of running the affairs of the state.
It was also learnt that the National Chairman pleaded with the aggrieved lawmakers, asking them to forget their differences and forge ahead for the coming elections, warning that a house divided against itself would collapse.
While appealing to the APC senators to shift ground on some of the issues raised, it was, however, learnt that Oyegun promised to reach out to President Buhari over their grievances, with a view to settling them.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, the Leader of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, confirmed that the parley was designed to address issues currently bedevilling the party, stressing that as a ruling party, it was not necessary for opposition to come from within the party members.
He also stated that the party would soon constitute a team that would look into the various challenges confronting it at all levels of governance, with a view to reconciling all aggrieved members.
He said: “The NWC of our great party, the APC, visited us this afternoon, and we held about three-hour meeting. And this is simply a father visiting his family.
“The purpose of that meeting was to review the happenings in the party across the country at all levels of government. We as members of the National Assembly are and will remain committed to ensuring that we continue to support the change agenda of our administration led by President Buhari.
“The party is the platform for all of us both the Legislature and the Executive. Therefore, in my view, the party has done so well by coming.
“Senators took turn to express the ways out of some of the issues that have been bedevilling this party; and I believe that it was a worthwhile, very frank discussion.
“The party will soon constitute a team that will comprise the Executive, the Legislature, the party itself and representation from our governors, and we have 24 of them and are looking for more with Ekiti coming to the kitty. I am sure that our party was also glad to be here with us this afternoon.
“The idea of bringing everybody on the table is to ensure that we continue to be on the same page on every issue at the party level, at the National Assembly level, at executive level and some of our governors so that at all times, should there be any issue from any side, we should be able to discuss it and dispense with it as quickly as possible.
“The issue of plan to override Mr. President on the Electoral Act Amendment is only a symptom, and I believe that discussions centred around so many things including that, but we are coming to a situation where that can be resolved, and we are very hopeful that as soon as that Caucus is constituted, this kind of issue can easily be discussed and resolved.
“This is our government; we shouldn’t be fighting dirty in the public. In fact, if we have misunderstanding, we should be able to deal with it inside our rooms, not outside.
“No political party at any level of administration could have no problems at all. What makes the difference is for the political party to be able to manage such kind of challenges that rear their heads from time to time. So, we are on top the situation, we are going to deal with all our problems by the grace of God.”
The Deputy National Chairman of APC, South, Segun Oni and the National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Bolaji Abdullahi, among others were present at the meeting.