The Clerk of the National Assembly and Senate President, Bukola Saraki, have disregarded President Muhammadu Buhari’s request and provided the election that produced Saraki as Senate President.
Garba Shehu, the presidential spokesman, said that there was a request for the National Assembly to change the time of the inauguration in other for the meeting with the All Progressives Congress (APC) legislators to hold.
Shehu clarified that the president declined to meet the 51 APC legislators at the International Conference Centre because election had already been concluded by legislators who remained back at the National Assembly building.
According to him, the point of going to the ICC was lost once the procedure of election had begun.
He said: “Well, President Buhari had planned to be there to show support for the party and once the process had began, the point had been lost. Let me make this clear, I think somebody just wanted to bump into the President because the President had discussed what he wants. Governor Saraki directly or indirectly, the clerk of the National Assembly was reached directly or indirectly and they would have shown that respect to Mr. President, but the process went ahead. And that is it.
“I am talking about the clerk, governor saraki, the key characters in all of these had sufficient information directly or indirectly coming to them that the President will be meeting the party members and the party chairman was present on the ground. Assumption would have been that every loyal and committed party member would have presented themselves to the party and to their President. That did not happen yesterday (Tuesday).
“I mean the information had been made available to people who would have decide this process. A respect for the President even if and for him to have made this point, even the outcome would have been the same. They chose to be absent. They chose to respect their party and the President. 51 APC Senators decided to answer the call of the party and the President and were present to this meeting. It was not as if it was a secret meeting.
“The party had begun a process and concluded it and some of these actors were part of that process. They knew what had happened. There was a shadow election of some sort. It is clear that there was nothing accidental in all of these things that happened. The process I meant, what I meant is that the APC as a party had began a process for choosing leaders. There was a shadow election in which leaders were chosen on the platform of the political party and it was complete. There was no doubt about it.”
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Shehu dismissed the speculations that the meeting was made secret, continuing that the invitation for the meeting was online and all attempts were made to advise the major people engaged in the drama that played out on June 9, Tuesday.
The presidential aide also rejected that President Buhari deliberately kept the 51 APC legislators at the ICC in order for them not to take part in the election.
Meanwhile, Shehu said that Buhari will work with whoever is the Senate President, continuing that the President will support whatever decision the APC takes.
He added that the President has not congratulated the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and House of Representative Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, over their victories.
On their own turn, some senators also blamed the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasua of conspiring with senators of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party against the ruling APC.
Speaking through Senator Barnabas Gemade, the senators questioned why the clerk, without verification on whether the said meeting had concluded, opened the gate, thereby letting opposition senators gain entry to elect new principal officers of the National Assembly, leaving others behind.
Gemade said: “The clerk of the National Assembly knowing fully well that a quorum for election of the Senate President has not been met, went ahead to conduct an election that shuts the door to about 53 other senators which would remain unacceptable…
“It was necessary for us to believe that the president had actually sought a slight delay to enable him speak to the senators that he had agreed to speak to. I think that respect begets respect and for that reason, we expected that if the president had made that request to the clerk, it would be reasonable for the clerk to be mindful of the fact and the status of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and in view of those members that were called to the meeting. But unfortunately, this was not done,” he added.
President Buhari has returned from G7 summit and called for an emergency meeting of all federal lawmakers eleceted on the platform of the APC to solve the crisis.
But while most APC senators were waitintg for the arrival of Buhari Senate President Bukola Saraki was elected. 57 senators were present at the meeting at the National Assembly.