How did Senator Bukola Saraki carry out his bloodless Senate coup yesterday, completely outsmarting his party and the party anointed rival to the senate presidency, Senator Ahmed Lawan?
Pieces of information and what we learnt was truly shocking: Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, who emerged as speaker of the House of Representatives, deliberately ignored the party’s meeting, scheduled to be addressed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari had maintained an indifference to the raging conflict in his party on who should occupy the two top positions in the National Assembly until his party sought his urgent intervention.
We can authoritatively confirm that President Buhari had agreed to meet the divided National Assembly members, belonging to his party, the same day he arrived from the G-7 Summit in Germany.
All the elected representatives of the party, including Yakubu Dogara and Dr. Bukola Saraki were duly informed, before Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party’s publicity secretary issued a widely publicised notice of the meeting, slated to hold at 9 a.m. at the International Conference Centre, in Abuja.
The meeting did not hold and President Buhari did not come for the meeting as those waiting for him at the ICC and himself learnt that the 8th Senate had been officially proclaimed and that a process of electing its officers had begun.
A day before President Buhari had conveyed a proclamation to convene the 8th Senate to the Clerk of the National Assembly, who without minding the absence of 51 senators convened the senate.
“The dozens of legislators were already waiting for President Buhari at the ICC when they learnt about the developments at the Senate,” said a source close to the arrangement for the crisis-resolution meeting.
But certainly, Saraki had other plans hatched with the leadership of the rival Peoples Democratic Party. With a handful of renegade APC senators in his support, Saraki was sure of the solid backing of the 49 PDP senators, as well. And he had clearly made the PDP an irresistible offer: the Vice presidency of the senate to one of the PDP senators.
Fortuitously for him, party men who were coming to push for the candidacy of Lawan were no where in sight. They were 15 kms away at the International Conference Centre, when the Clerk of the National Assembly called for nominations for the post of Senate President.
Only Saraki’s name was mentioned. Thus his unanimous election by 49 PDP senators and seven APC senators.
A fall-out of the dramatic event yesterday was whether President Buhari was not aware of the meeting called at the ICC.
Spokesmen of the President, Femi Adesina and Malam Garba Shehu confirmed that President Buhari was duly informed, though the meeting was at the instance of the party.
Garba, the SSA confirmed that in an interview on Channels TV that both Dogara and Saraki were duly informed about the meeting.
Adesina said on AIT that the President did not call the meeting.
A Twitter controversy about the contradiction in the two statements was resolved when the two officials in SMS messages told newsmen that the ICC meeting was essentially APC’s idea.