Saraki, Dogara Shuns Osinbajo Peace Meeting

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A truce meeting that was to be presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was allegedly shunned by Dogara, Saraki and their supporters.

The National Chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun, who announced the meeting, had told journalists in Abuja that the party was doing everything to reconcile all its aggrieved lawmakers-elect.

Odigie-Oyegun explained that all the new APC lawmakers were being called upon to respect the party and abide by
the majority decision taken on those that should lead the National Assembly.

He had said, “I want to appeal to APC members in both the Senate and the House of Representatives to respect the
party, its view and the decision they themselves took in selecting the persons that will be presented to the National Assembly as the presiding officers.

“I want to make it clear, all the party did was to provide a platform for all elected members of the party in stating their
preferences; this they have freely done in front of the party leadership.

“It seems that some of the aspirants feel not satisfied with the preferences of the majority of the members but for me
as the chairman and other members of the NWC, we want to appeal that no individual interest should be allowed to
override the interest of the party as a whole.”

The chairman argued that since they contested on the platform of the party and rather than the other way round,
they must respect “ the party’s views and its methods of doing things.”

According to him, the party was fully aware that it could not impose leaders on the legislators hence all it did was to
provide a platform for them to chose amongst themselves who their leaders would be.

He said, “We should let peace reign, we’ve all agreed to change and it must start with the conduct of the members
themselves. To achieve this, Vice President Osinbajo will also have the opportunity to address elected APC National Assembly members.

“This is the very first step of the distribution of the spoils of office. The APC has survived a lot of predictions; we have survived and put many doomsayers to shame, this too shall
come to pass.” But minutes before the meeting with Osinbajo was scheduled to begin, a source close to Dogara sent a statement, saying the House of Representatives-elect members loyal to Dogara would not attend the parley .

The statement cited threats to their “personal safety and liberty” as reason.
The statement which was sent via SMS partly read, “ Information reaching us indicates that this purported meeting is a ploy to arrest and detain members until after tomorrow’s election.

Members should therefore disregard
the invitation.” There was no word from the camp of Saraki on why they shunned the truce meeting. Efforts by one of our correspondents to contact the former Kwara State governor proved abortive as his telephone line did not connect.

Osinbajo himself was not at the meeting. He was however represented by Odigie-Oyegun. Osinbajo had earlier spent close to one hour meeting with
the APC chairman behind closed doors at the party’s national secretariat .
Lawmakers who had converged at the venue of the meeting left one after another when it became apparent that the Vice President would not be there in person.

It was learnt that Odigie-Oyegun pleaded with members to vote for party supremacy as it had discovered that the
opposition PDP might take advantage of the situation if not properly handled.
APC governors were however holding a meeting aimed at pacifying the aggrieved aspirants at the Imo State
Governor’s Lodge in Abuja at about 10.30pm on Monday.

Before the meeting started, Dogara and Gbajabiamila’s camps made bold statements and began boasting of
victory. Dogara’s group for instance, restated its stance to defy the decision of the APC to pick Gbajabiamila, saying that the power to elect a speaker for the House rested with the 360 members-elect and not a “clique” operating from outside the National Assembly.

Part of a statement by the spokesman for the 8th Assembly Consolidation Group, Abdulmumin Jibrin, reads, “As we brace for Tuesday’s inauguration of the 8th session of the National Assembly, we wish to state here that we are going ahead to nominate Dogara for election into the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“We urge members-elect and all well-meaning Nigerians to disregard any form of insinuation about our stance.
“We are taking our destinies in our hands; we are going to the floor of the House to decide who leads the next
Assembly.

“Absolute power comes from God almighty and He gives it to any one He wishes. “We are calling on all members-elect to vote for the independence of the legislature by ensuring that Dogara emerges as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“Only the 360 members can determine who becomes their Speaker and represents the interests of all Nigerians and not the interest of a clique.” But, in the Gbajabiamila camp, investigations showed that the members were unruffled as they claimed to be sure of
victory.

A member of the group, who did not want to be named, explained that their thinking was that “some things don’t
need debating. “The APC has 213 members in the House. 154 of those
members voted for Gbajabiamila at the mock election.

What does that tell you?,” he asked.
Before Odigie-Oyegun spoke with journalists, it was gathered that some APC senators were holding a closed-
door meeting at the International Conference Centre in Abuja ahead of the elections on Tuesday(today). It was also learnt that members of the PDP Senate caucus were meeting at the Nicon Hilton Hotel in Abuja.

Details of the two meetings were sketchy because no member of either groups offered information about their
discussions. Saraki and Lawan had before the meetings on Monday
intensified their lobby for support from the PDP senators-elect.

Unconfirmed reports from the camps of Saraki and Lawan alleged that foreign currencies and promises of membership of juicy committees were offered to members of the PDP caucus.
A leading member of the Like Minds Senators, told one of our correspondents in Abuja that a godfather in the APC had since Sunday been reaching out to both the APC and PDP senators-elect.

He said, “The desperation started last week when some senators who were among the 34 signatories to the letter
addressed to the national chairman of the party ( Odigie-Oyegun), endorsing Saraki were enjoined to resist monetary
inducement.

“We are seriously relying on members who are real men of integrity to stand by their words and vote according to their
conscience on the floor tomorrow(Tuesday).”

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