Why Buhari, Tinubu finally bowed to Saraki

By Amako Nneji June 30, 2015 17:32

Why Buhari, Tinubu finally bowed to Saraki

The untouchable nature of Senate President Bukola Saraki has triggered Ahmed Bola Tinubu and other head honchos in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to jettison his May 29 inauguration mantra “I belong to everybody; I belong to nobody.’’

Calls have been made for the President to use his presidential power as the leader of the party to intervene in the intra-party crisis before the Senate President hijacks the party structure.

Saraki on June 9, with some APC senators of the “Like Minds” group, allegedly formed an unholy alliance with 49 Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lawmakers to emerge as the Senate President of the 8th National Assembly contrary to the dismay of the APC.

On June 10, an angry Bola Tinubu reacted to the Saraki’s emergence saying he could not recognize the “kangaroo” arrangement that had ensued.

“I will never recognize such a kangaroo arrangement that produced Bukola as the Senate President. Or how do you want me to recognise a man who deliberately defied his own party because of his personal interest? It is not done anywhere.

“Therefore, recognizing Bukola as the Senate President after all he had done to our party today, having gone against the wish and pattern of our great party, honestly will amount to endorsing impunity, and which you should all know I will not,” Tinubu said.

The National Leader of the Party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun wrote Saraki asking him to name Ahmed Lawan as Senate Leader, George Akume as Deputy Senate Leader, Sola Adeyeye as Chief Whip and Abu Ibrahim as Deputy Whip.

However the Senate contrary to the letter on Thursday named Ali Ndume as Senate Leader, Bala Na’Allah as Deputy Senate Leader and Felix Aimikhena as Chief Whip.

The obstinate Saraki wrote a letter to the leadership of the APC stating his hands were too tied to adhere to the list the party purportedly sent to him.

In a letter dated June 25 and addressed to the APC National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, the Senate President said extant laws and parliamentary procedures blocked him from appointing the party’s nominees for the positions.

Saraki explained to the APC that he could not act on the party’s directives because another caucus of the party in the upper legislative chamber had met and selected their choices for the positions.

He said though he would have loved to toe the party’s line, his hands were tied in the circumstance.

Observers warned that any move by President Buhari or Tinubu to etch a plan to suspend Saraki from the APC would be suicidal.

Constitutionally, Saraki has the legislative power to move impeachment proceedings against President Buhari and his Vice-Prof Yemi Osinbajo.

It is one of the guarantees of democracy that the President can be constitutionally removed if he goes through the process in the National Assembly.

Senators have the right to mobilize against this President in the National Assembly, and if their campaign gathers momentum, and the National Assembly impeaches him, they would be within their rights

Out of the 109 Senators, Saraki has the backing of the 49 PDP Senators and about 35 members of the APC that belong to the Like Minds group, led by Senator Dino Melaye.

Therefore, any attempt to touch Saraki would be trying to touch 84 Senators which might be detrimental to President Buhari’s administration.

Political experts are of the view that President Buhari and Tinubu have to tread carefully because Saraki and his group of loyalists might witch hunt them especially in the passage of bills and clearance of Ministers.

Although, APC chieftains have appealed to the President to intervene in the party crisis by calling Saraki to order

Any force and disciplinary action against Saraki can make the party to crumble.

As a political wizard, Tinubu recognizing the enormous power of Saraki as a Senate President has stopped making public utterances regarding Saraki’s emergence.

Senator Ahmed Lawan’s group in the Senate, the Unity Forum, on Monday challenged Saraki’s appointment of Principal Office holders.

The Forum stated this in a June 29 letter to the APC National Chairman.

“Hence, Chapter VI: Rules 28,29 and 31 of the Senate Standing Orders referred to by the Senate President do not confer on the so-called zonal caucuses the right to appoint the APC principal officers as they state as follows:

*Order 28: There shall be a Majority Leader of the Senate. The Majority Leader shall be a Senator nominated from the party with the highest number of Senators.

*Order 29: There shall be a Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate. The Majority Leader shall be a Senator nominated from the party with the highest number of seats in the Senate.

*Order 31: There shall be a Chief Whip of the Senate. The Chief Whip shall be a Senator nominated from the party with the highest number of seats in the Senate.

According to the Forum, the nomination of Sen. Ali Ndume and others as principal officers contravened Order 3 Rule 2 of the Senate because ranking was not followed.

“We want to draw the attention of the party that the names of those announced by the Senate President to lead the APC Caucus in the Senate is in contravention of Order 3 Rule 2 of the Senate Standing Rules which stipulates as follows :