From Fred Itua, Abuja
APPARENTLY disturbed by a possible takeover of the Senate by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the event that embattled Bukola Saraki is convicted by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) the All Progressives Congress (APC) senators have resolved to close ranks.
They demonstrated this with a vote of confidence passed on Saraki at a meeting in Abuja on Tuesday night.
Daily Sun gathered that the strategic meeting had in attendance 10 Senators, five from each of the two warring camps in the Senate.
Senator Ahmad Lawan led the Senate Unity Forum, which had Kabiru Marafa, Gbenga Ashafa and Suleiman Hukunyi.
The Like Minds was represented by Danjuma Goje, Aliyu Wammako, Sani Yerima, Kabiru Gaya and Adamu Aliero. Leaders of the two groups, Senators Dino Melaye and Barnabas Gemade were absent.
The meeting, Daily Sun gathered, was a last ditch effort to prevent the PDP from ‘snatching’ the Senate Presidency in the face of a divided house.
It was gathered that the thrust of the meeting was to explore ways to unite and forge a common front in the chamber.
The lawmakers reportedly expressed fear that if Saraki was removed, the PDP stood a better chance of taking over the leadership of the Senate
Presently, APC has 57 Senators while the PDP has 46. Six seats – three in Rivers, one each in Imo, Anambra and Kogi states – are still pending. Rivers, Anambra and Imo states are believed to be under the strong grip of the PDP, while Kogi may go either way. If the PDP is able to secure the six slots, the opposition party will increase its tally to 57 while the APC will have 52 members.
Re-composition of the standing committees to favour APC members, loyalty to the leadership of the party, support for President Muhammadu Buhari, among others, were the resolutions reached at the end of the meeting.
Senator Marafa explained what necessitated the meeting and how both camps have chosen to restore peace to the troubled chamber.
According to him, “The problem of leadership has been on in the Senate since we came on board. Last week, Senators from the North-west came up with the idea of uniting the APC caucus in the Red Chamber. Senator Wammako was at the head of it. He consulted with his people in the Like Minds group and reached out to us.
“So, we decided to meet last week. At the end, we came up with a three point agenda. We talked about the issue of committees’ composition. We talked about APC members in the Unity Forum who were sidelined in the composition of the committees. We said if you want to come together, we need to review certain things. The third thing was the issue of leadership.
We agreed on two out of the three items on the agenda. We are still on the third issue- how we can comply with the position of the party. We are likely going to see again today (yesterday). We have agreed that is it in the interest of APC for us to work together.
Senator Ashafa also confirmed the meeting to Daily Sun, but declined to make further comments on issue sdiscussed or conclusions reach.