8 Jun 2015

Saraki and Dogara threatens APC over National Assembly leadership

The All Progressives Congress, APC, was at the weekend teetering towards a major crisis following serious disagreements over the emergence of the new leadership of the National Assembly.

The party leadership was, however, last night rallying round to quench the dissent with an appeal for unity, saying the party must not enter tomorrow’s leadership contest as a divided party.

That appeal was, however, of little effect in the camp of supporters of Senator Bukola Saraki’s aspiration for Senate President and those for Rep. Yakubu Dogara’s speakership ambition who were insisting on taking the battle to the floor of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Supporters of Dogara, it was learnt, had petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari as the party leader to step into the matter.

Meanwhile, despite assertions that it would not be involved in the unfolding script, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was last night also mobilising for a strategic alliance with the Saraki and Dogara tendencies in the APC.

A number of PDP governors, it was learnt, are arriving Abuja today ahead of tomorrow’s leadership contests.

The APC has 209 members-elect while the PDP has 140 with smaller parties producing the remaining.

The crisis in the APC was widened at the weekend after some national officers of the party organised a mock election to pick a candidate for Senate President and Speaker.

Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila won the ballot among the members-elect after Dogara pulled out alleging that it was an ambush as he was never informed that the meeting with party elders was to be a mock election.

In his absence, Gbajabiamila, the outgoing Minority Leader of the House, polled 153 votes to the three polled by Dogara. Dogara yesterday rejected the result, saying that in his absence he could not have been nominated for what he called a mockery of democracy orchestrated by a few national officers.

In a statement yesterday, a leading supporter of Dogara’s group and outgoing chairman of the House Committee on Information, Rep. Zakari Mohammed, queried the alleged inference of outside interests to project a favoured candidate.
“Having initially consented to having the process halted, following our complaint that we were not put on notice that a primary election was in the offing, we wish to ask who the National Chairman of our party, Chief John Oyegun, was referring to when after about one hour of the stand-off, he declared that he was under pressure to conclude the exercise?” Mohammed asked in a statement issued on behalf of Dogara’s supporters, Consolidated Group.
The assertions were, however, dismissed by Gbajabiamila’s supporters who dismissed Dogara’s supporters as bereft of the change character espoused by the new party.

Credit: Vanguard

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