- There are speculations that President Buhari, the APC and its governors may offer Saraki a juicy offer to keep him in the ruling party
- This is the aftermath of the closed-door meeting Buhari earlier held with Saraki, Osinbajo and others
- A source who spoke in confidence listed about six offers the party may offer Saraki to avoid his defection to PDP
There were strong speculations that President Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and governors are considering juicy offers for Senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki, to prevent his defection to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to The Nation, some prominent leaders of the party, especially the coordinator of the reconciliation initiative, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, might be involved in the negotiation with Saraki.
Legit.ng gathered that Tinubu was said to have been briefed about President Buhari’s interaction with Saraki and others.
But Saraki, who bowed well for the president after a meeting at the Presidential Villa, was frank in expressing his mind.
He allegedly said he felt humiliated by the party he co-founded and the government he jointly put in place with others.
He was reportedly solemn in expressing his disappointment to the president and some APC governors.
The Nation reported that President Buhari and some APC governors met with the Senate President as a follow-up to the talks with New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) caucus of APC being coordinated in the past few months by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
It was gathered that most APC leaders, governors and other members were unhappy that the party was on the verge of losing Saraki to PDP.
They believed that the defection of such a “political heavyweight” to the opposition might affect cohesion in APC for the 2019 poll.
The consequences of a depleted APC allegedly impelled some governors and party leaders to broker understanding between the President and Saraki.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “At least, for the first time, there was a frank session between the president and Saraki.
“He expressed disappointment with his humiliation by the government he fought hard to put in place.
“We were all sober while he relived his travails because none of us would pray to be in such a situation.
“We understood with him but we felt it was time to forgive and forget in order to move forward.
“As part of preventing Saraki’s defection, we may offer him juicy terms including:
"1. Automatic return as the president of the Senate in 2019
"2. More consultation and inclusiveness in key decisions henceforth
"3. Mutual Executive-Legislature relationship
"4. Revisiting all issues raised by nPDP Caucus which formed the basis of talks in the past few months
"5. Reconciling with all aggrieved leaders of nPDP
"6. Avoiding a repeat of past mistakes which led to his humiliation.
“We also appeal to Saraki to shelve moves to defect to PDP or any other party. We agreed that he has a better stake in APC than any other party.”
Asked if Saraki made any commitment, the source added: “There was none yet, but the atmosphere was cordial and hopeful.
“After the meeting, he even bowed well to the president.
“The session was the climax of talks in the past few months. As one of our leaders, we leave the final decision to Saraki to take.
“But one thing was clear from Saraki: he will want all commitments put into writing and documented in case of any breach in the future.
“To some of us who have been wooing him, such a demand is in order. It is a case of once bitten, twice shy.”
Responding to a question, the source said: “The final stage of talks with Saraki will still involve some of our leaders, like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who is coordinating the reconciliation in the party.
“In fact, Tinubu has been briefed on the outcome of the meeting at the Villa and why he has to play a key role too.”
Some of the major complaints on nPDP are grudges on the conduct of state congresses, lack of significant patronage and appointments to executive positions, harassment and intimidation, etc.
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that President Buhari on Thursday, July 19, met behind closed doors with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate president Bukola Saraki and four APC governors at the state house, Abuja.
The APC governors at the meeting included Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, Aminu Masari of Katsina, Abdul Aziz Yari of Zamfara and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun.
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