NASS leadership: APC postpones meeting with Senators, Reps-elect

By The Citizen
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The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday shelved a scheduled meeting with Senators-elect and members-elect of the House of Representatives apparently to avert a full blown crisis.

At the International Conference Centre, venue of the meeting in Abuja at 10:32am, only a handful of armed soldiers, policemen and private security guards were seen.

It was learnt that the party's national working committee hurriedly called off the meeting   after receiving intelligence report that the APC legislators-elect were spoiling for a fight.

A senator-elect said, 'Some of us were at the International Conference Centre, venue of the proposed meeting here(Abuja) as early as 7am waiting for our party leaders when some of our colleagues, mainly from the lower chamber arrived.

'The atmosphere became charged as the members-elect were discussing aloud and threatening to create a stalemate in case there is any move by the leadership to introduce the issue of consensus candidates for the leadership positions in the two chambers.

'It was when the situation was getting out of hand that we got a message that the meeting had been cancelled by the party's leadership.'

But the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Lai Mohammed, dismissed the insinuation that it shelved the meeting   out of fear.

He said, 'When we fixed the meeting, we were unaware that the Senate would be holding its valedictory service today (Thursday). The meeting has therefore been rescheduled for Saturday.'

It was however, gathered that the legislators grouse was what some of them considered the party's meddlesomeness in the affairs of the incoming 8th National Assembly.

Signs that the meeting might hit the brick wall emerged on Wednesday when some of the legislators-elect showed   that they were uncomfortable with information that   the party's leadership was planning to use the meeting to railroad them into picking consensus candidates for leadership positions in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Senators Ahmed Lawan (Yobe State) and George Akume (Benue State) are said to be the APC's preferred candidates for the positions of Senate president and deputy senate president respectively.

However, Senator Bukola Saraki (Kwara State) is said to be relying on the support of his colleagues across party lines to get the job.

In the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila (Lagos state) and   Mohammed Mongonu (Borno) are said to enjoy the support of most of APC's leaders for the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.

The party has insisted that it does not have preferred candidates for the leadership positions in the National Assembly.

Some APC National Assembly members-elect operating under the aegis of the 8th Assembly Consolidation Group, had in a statement on Wednesday cautioned the APC leadership against acts capable of distabilising the party.

The statement which was signed by Ahman Aliyu Pategi, Zakari Mohammed, Babangida Ibrahim Mahuta, Aishat Dukku, Haliru Jika and Jagaba Adams Jagaba urged the party to abide by President Muhammadu Buhari's none interference posture.

The statement partly read,'We wish to draw the attention of our great party, the All Progressive's Congress and Nigerians to certain unethical and un-democratic moves by some desperate party leaders who are bent on subverting the laid down procedure on the emergence of the Speaker of the 8th Assembly in accordance with the House Standing Orders and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.'

When our correspondent visited the International Conference Centre, venue of the meeting in Abuja at 10:32am, only a handful of armed soldiers, policemen and private security guards were seen. - Punch.