The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John Odigie-Oyegun, is currently at the National Assembly to attend the caucus meeting of APC senators.
Mr. Odigie-Oyegun is in attendance with members of the APC National Working Committee.
Addressing the press shortly before commencement of the meeting, Mr. Odigie-Oyegun said his appearance hinged on the need to commiserate with the senate on the death of a senator, Ali Wakili, and to strategise towards 2019 elections.
Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, in his opening remarks said the meeting was scheduled after a request by the National Working Committee.
“Today, we are receiving the National Chairman of the party and other members of the National Working Committee in the National Assembly, particularly in the senate. The National Chairman requested last week that the National Working Committee of our party will like to meet the senate APC caucus and we have chosen today as that day to interact with our party.
“We believe that this meeting is important and will go a long way in addressing important and key issues in our party. We believe that we can have more of this to make this party better and stronger.
“I pray that this meeting produces very positive and progressive outcome that will show us better ways of managing our party and even our government. This meeting will afford us the opportunity to talk to our leaders on any issue that we feel strongly and seriously about and therefore we shouldn’t lose this opportunity.”
Mr. Odigie-Oyegun said the visit was imminent to map out strategy for the 2019 general elections.
First he requested, and was granted, a minute silence to honour a late senator, Ali Wakili.
He said, “We have a dual purpose for coming here today. The very first is to show our solidarity on the passing of distinguished colleague senator Wakili. I know you have honoured him several times but I want to request on behalf of the National Working Committee that we honour him one more time by a minute silence.
“I’m glad to be here again. I don’t think I’m here often enough. It’s a good opportunity to discuss general issues. Issues that have arisen from the polity, the reality of an election in less than a year, 11 months, 10 months if you want to be economical. And some interests that bind us together. We are here to talk, we are here to listen, we are here to strategise on best way as we approach the critical months ahead. That is the 2019 election.”
Part of ‘issues’ Mr. Odigie Oyegun and the National Working Committee may wish to put on agenda are recent confrontations the senate has experienced in recent times.
The most prominent of these is the aftermath of the adoption to the amendment of the Electoral Act.
The amendment split the senate into two factions; pro-Buhari senators who are opposed to the re-arrangement of the election sequence and pro-Saraki senators who want the rearrangement.
The two factions are still in the process of garnering support for their different positions to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on the bill.
The august visitors may also take up the task of quenching what seems like a personality clash between the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Nasarawa senator, Abdullahi Adamu.
Mr. Adamu is at the frontline of opposition to the amendment of the Electoral Act, leading nine other senators out of the chamber in protest the day the senate adopted it.
A week after the protest, he was removed as chairman of Northern Senators Forum amidst allegations of mismanagement.
Mr. Adamu since then has been vocal in expressing his dissent at some of the activities of Mr. Saraki. He accused the senate president of using his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu to do his ‘dirty jobs’ at the senate.
Last week, he accused the APC senators of sabotaging a government they helped institute.
Mr. Odigie-Oyegun, the APC National Working Committee and the senators were in the closed-door meeting as at the time of filing this report.