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Aggrieved senators reject Saraki’s peace moves


In spite of fresh overtures with juicy

committees, Senators opposed to the

emergence of Dr. Bukola Saraki as the President

of the Senate were yesterday insisted on seeing

through the ongoing trial of Saraki and the

Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike


They said the case was already beyond them

since the Federal Government is in charge of


They also said it was too late to withdraw the

petition that made the police to investigate the

alleged forgery in the first instance.

Some members of the aggrieved Unity Forum

asked Saraki to go beyond the shuffling of


They said there could be an out-of-court

settlement if Saraki respects the wish of the All

Progressives Congress to concede some

principal offices to members of the Unity


The two leaders are standing trial in the High

Court of Justice of the Federal Capital Territory

for alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Rules

2015 (as amended).

Others in the dock with them are the

immediate past Clerk to the National Assembly,

Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, and the Deputy

Clerk to the National Assembly, Benedict


The trial has been adjourned to September 28

by Justice Halilu Yusuf of the FCT High Court.

In a deft political move aimed at reconciliation

with the senators against him, Saraki on

Thursday reconstituted some committees to

accommodate his opponents.

The breakdown saw two prominent members

of the Unity Forum, Sen. Kabiru Marafa and

Suleiman Hunkuyi now given what was termed

“strategic and juicy” committees.

The leadership changes in some committees

are as follows: Hope Uzodinma (Customs);

Adamu Aliero (Aviation); Oluremi Tinubu

(Environment); Kabiru Marafa (Petroleum

Downstream); Barau Jibril (Tertiary Education);

Binta Garba (Women Affairs); Joshua Dariye

(Public Procurement); James Manager (Solid

Minerals); Eyinnaya Abaribe (Power); Suleiman

Adokwe (Information and National

Orientation); Suleiman Hukunyi (National

Identity); Babajide Omoworare (Legislative

Compliance); Baba Garba (Rules and Business)

and Tijani Kaura (Federal Character).

The new deputy chairmen of some committees

are Ahmed Ogembe (Marine Transport); and

Phillip Aduda (Petroleum downstream).

A highly-placed source in the Unity Forum said:

“Since the reshuffling of some committees on

Thursday, I have lost sleep because Senators

loyal to Saraki and Ekweremadu have been

mounting pressure on us to forget about the

case in court.

“One of the loyalists said since the issue of

committees was part of the conditions for

peace; we should embrace Saraki and

Ekweremadu. The pro-Saraki elements claimed

that they are ready for more concessions.

“It appears the shuffling of the committees was

a masterstroke to divide the Unity Forum. But

they cannot break our ranks.”

Another ranking Senator said a principal officer

met with him on Thursday and simply asked:

‘Now that we have reconstituted the

committees, will you people (Unity Forum) help

us resolve this case now?

“The emissary from the South-East was eager to

extract a commitment from me and some

members of the Unity Forum with me.

“I reminded the principal officer that the ball is

in the court of the Federal Government which is

prosecuting the case.

It was however gathered that some Unity

Forum members who met after the the

committees were shuffled have chosen to press

ahead with the forgery case.

At the session, the members said Saraki was yet

to “respect the wish of APC on the sharing of

principal offices.

The source added: “When we met on Thursday

night, we weighed all options and concluded

that Saraki has not demonstrated substantial

readiness to reconcile with the Unity Forum.

“He redeployed a key and effective member of

this forum, Sen. Babajide Omoworare from

Rules and Business to a redundant committee.

Some Senators were really shocked because

Omoworare is a team player.

“The appointment of committee chairmen is

not far-reaching because any Senator’s choice is

at the discretion of Saraki.

“We can resolve the crisis but after this step,

Saraki may reshuffle all the committees again.

“We are at his mercy on committees. Saraki has

the sole right to constitute committees without

deferring to Senators.

“If we go back on this case because of

appointment into committees, we would have

proved to Nigerians that we were pursuing the

case for selfish reasons.

“We are however committed to peace in the

Senate. We concluded that if Saraki is serious,

let him respect the wish of APC leadership and

heed the advice of President Muhammadu

Buhari in choosing principal officers

“In a letter to Saraki, the APC leadership made

the following recommendations: Senator

Ahmed Lawan (Majority Leader)–North-East;

Prof. Sola Adeyeye (Chief Whip)–South-West;

Sen. George Akume (Deputy Majority Leader)—

North-Central; and Sen. Abu Ibrahim(Deputy

Chief Whip)—North-West.

“And of course, it is not out of place to make Ali

Ndume the Deputy President of the Senate to

replace Ike Ekweremadu.

‘Even Senators like Ndume are ready to

sacrifice their posts for the unity of the Senate

if Saraki can bend more to accommodate all.

“You never can tell, we can all decide that

Ekweremadu should remain in office if the

rapprochement is accommodating.

“If the Speaker of the House of Representatives,

Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara could comply with the

directive of the party, Saraki should also do so.

“In fact, we can begin to talk of out-of-court

settlement or ask the Judiciary to allow us to

address the case at hand internally.”

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