Rival groups of the All Progressives Congress Senate Caucus held a meeting Monday night at the Maitama, Abuja residence of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, his spokesperson said.
The meeting marked the first time Mr. Saraki would host a united APC caucus since the Senate was inaugurated in June 2015.
Following Mr. Saraki’s emergence against the wish of the APC leadership, senators on the platform of the ruling party were polarised along the lines of loyalty and opposition to the former Kwara Governor.
But at Monday’s meeting, the two factions “held what can be called a successful unity caucus meeting in which members forgot their differences and discussed issues affecting Nigeria, the federal legislature and the fortune of their party,” a statement by Mr. Saraki’s spokesperson, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said.
Mr. Olaniyonu said the meeting had in attendance “over 50” Senators.
“The meeting was held preparatory to the resumption of the Red Chamber of the federal legislature today, Tuesday and took place about the same time the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) senators also had their own caucus meeting at another venue under the leadership of Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
“What surprised many was the convivial atmosphere as senators discussed freely and after the meeting exchanged jokes and engaged in banters and back-slapping,” he said.
During the meeting, Mr. Olaniyonu continued, the APC senators discussed the proposed debate on the economic recession which will be spear-headed by Mr. Saraki during Tuesday’s plenary and agreed that members should take leadership in the efforts to find solution to the economic crisis.
He added, “The senators also noted that by the end of next year, election issues will be very dominant in the polity and that there was need for the Senate to fast-track debates and passage of key bills before the time when partisan engagements will divert the attention of senators.
“They agreed that they should persuade their colleagues to always endeavour to be prompt at plenary so that sitting would always commence early and that the Senate should engage with the executive on the implementation of constituency projects as a way of spreading federal presence to the nooks and crannies of the country.”
The senators also discussed ways to manage the image and public perception of the National Assembly, he said.
“They resolve to fast-track the passage of bills, motions, public hearings, oversight, committee work and other legislative activities so as to ensure the Senate achieves more before its tenure will expire.”
The meeting may have created a new chapter in the relationship between APC senators. The ruling party has a majority of 60 Senators in the 109-member chamber.