The crisis in the All Progressives Congress continues, with yesterday's meeting of the party Senate caucus in the National Assembly having ended in near fisticuffs over Senate leadership positions.
According to Vanguard, Bukola Saraki, the Senate president, had previously announced that the meeting scheduled for 2pm should be attended by all APC senators.
Saraki called for unity and urged his colleagues to remain focused and determined. A source disclosed that Saraki's position was that the senators should follow the convention of allowing the zones to produce the leaders apportioned to them.
Pandemonium started about 30 minutes later when Senator Ahmed Lawan reportedly sauntered into the hearing room. His supporters announced that they must follow the dictates of the party which they claimed had already pencilled in names for all the positions.
In the course of the meeting a list supposedly arrived from the APC national chairman John Odigie-Oyegun, stating the position of the party which it was claimed had been sent to the office of the Senate president.
According to the list Lawan was earmarked the Senate leader, George Akume as deputy leader, Olusola Adeyeye as chief whip and Abu Ibrahim as deputy chief whip.
Senators supporting different groups were involved in a serious war of words, with their colleagues having to intervene before the situation degenerated (the news continues below, see the video in the end of the article).
Senator Hunkuyi said:
"The issue of leadership of the chamber that belongs to the group of the APC, cannot be decided here. It is common reasoning and common sense. We have a leadership for the party. The leadership of the party, that is, the APC still reigns supreme to decide the four positions of leadership, where it should go and who shall have it. An attempt here to do otherwise is the cause of this rancour.
"Simply put, the cause of the rancour is an attempt by the leadership that has emerged, in otherwise fishy circumstances to again force their will on the majority of the Senators of the APC."
Senator Ibrahim Danbaba part expressed outrage over the development referring to what had been agreed on during the Monday meeting:
"He (Hunkuyi) didn’t get to know what has been said and the arrangements that were made and agreement that was reached. We all agreed that we will go and meet in caucuses, that is to say the Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate has been zoned to North-East, Deputy Majority Leader zoned to North-West and the Chief Whip zoned to South-West and then the Deputy Chief Whip is zoned to South-South.
"That was where we were when these people came in and suddenly when they came in, they said no, it is the party secretariat that is going to decide who takes the position. And of course, they were making it very obvious that the party leadership is on the side of what we believe now is extinct, that is, the Unity Forum."