*Angry with Oyegun over non-consultation on appointments, other issues
*Odigie-Oyegun begs for ceasefire
By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA– FOR the first since the inauguration of the 8th Senate and emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President, the National Working Committee, NWC, of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday met with the Senate caucus of the party, where the lawmakers expressed anger with the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie- Oyegun for not consulting them on key party issues and appointments.
The APC Senators, who did not hide their ill- feelings at the explosive meeting held to discuss the current cold war between the Presidency and the Senate, told the NWC that it is wrong to leave the Senate in the dark about party’s policies, programmes and interests, which would have guided them as lawmakers in their duties.
A source told Vanguard that though the Senators told the Oyegun-led NWC that the meeting was belated but they were quick to accept the party against the backdrop that it is better late than never.
Senators were said to have expressed anger with the Presidency for not carrying them along in the appointment of board members and nominations into key positions as stalwarts and critical stakeholders of the party.
The APC lawmakers were said to have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency appoint board members into the parastatals which has been long delayed since the party took over power on May 29, 2015 and fill the vacant positions in many agencies for smooth running of the government.
A source said that the Senators told Oyegun and his team their dispeasure over President Buhari’s inaction on the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu and why they suspended former majority leader, Senator Ali Ndume.
The reconciliatory meeting began shortly after Senate President Bukola Saraki led Chief John Odigie-Oyegun into the National Assembly Complex at about 2:30pm.
Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, in his opening remarks, announced that the meeting was historic as it was the first time the leadership of the party would be meeting with the senators.
Odigie-Oyegun, who made reference to the point made by Lawan in his remarks, also described the meeting as historic. The meeting, however, entered closed session at 2:45pm and lasted for almost three hours. It had in attendance the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun, Deputy National Chairman, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, National Organizing Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso, National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi, the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly (Senate) Senator Ita Enang and other party executives.
Senators who spoke under condition of anonymity with Vanguard said that they expressed disappointment that the resolution of the Senate on Magu, has not received any response from the President inspite of the fact that the Senators rejected him twice based on report from the Department of State Security, DSS.
Odigie-Oyegun begs for ceasefire
Briefing Journalists after the meeting, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said: “I want to pay tribute to the National Assembly for the degree of cooperation that they have been extending to the executive inspite of seeming differences under the surface.
“Secondly, I want to say that we have now completed our consultations with the National Assembly and we are going to move forward from now. One appeal I have to make is that it is necessary for all levels of government to maintain some level of respect and civility to one another and my appeal is as we start now the process of reconstructing relationships and consultations, there should be what I will call a ceasefire in terms of the kind of abuse that is used all round on one institution of government or the other even principal parties of these institutions.
“Once that is done, I can assure you and the nation that in the next couple of weeks we will have a new level of amity, cohesion, cooperation and mutual respect between the different arms of government and the party; the executive, the National Assembly and the party.’’
Saraki harps on regular consultations
Also speaking with Journalists after the meeting, Senate President Saraki thanked Odigie-Oyegun and NWC for coming, stressing that regular consultations between the legislative arm of government and the party is important.
Inspite of the crisis, which he described as distractions, he said the Senate is doing its work.
“As I said yesterday, some of these issues that we have, I don’t believe that more fundamental issues are important to our people; issue of budget. Despite all the noise you heard last week, we still passed an amendment to the INEC law that had been there for over six or seven years.
“By this time next week, our Committee on Petroleum will lay the PIB which has never been done. We are focused on the major issues and we are not going to be distracted with that. And we are still going to do our work.
“It’s unfortunate but the most important thing is that a lot of stakeholders must respect these institutions. These institutions are there now and they are going to be there after and we should not allow our selfish interest to make us to ridicule the institutions. The institution is what we have and we must ensure that we respect that.’’