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
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
“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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