It was Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, the Chief Whip in the Upper Legislative Chambers who championed the peace process. Otherwise, 22 Senators of the All Progressives Congress (APC) would have left the party and moved to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The development would have changed the configuration of the principal officers of the Senate and affected the policy direction of the current government.
Kalu herded them to Aso Rock to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday. There, they expressed their grievances, especially, over the outcome of the primary elections in the APC, where they lost out.
In the words of Kalu: “Earlier this afternoon, I led the 22 aggrieved Senators and members of the All Progressive Congress to President Muhammad Buhari, GCFR. Our meeting with Mr President was successful and the issue of decamping from our party has been laid to rest.”
The Senators who expressed what pained them were: Yusuf Yusuf, Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe, Smart Adeyemi, Tolu Odebiyi, Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia, Yakubu Oseni, Danladi Sankara and Sen Sabo Nakudu.
They raised the following issues, among others:
- Doctoring of party registers.
- Manipulation of the list of delegates.
- Use of political appointees to conduct primaries.
- Intimidation of APC members.
- Monetisation of the primaries.
- Announcement of results of primaries before voting, and
- Declaration of results without primaries.
According to a statement by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President noted the complaints by the senators, adding that machinery had been put in place by the NWC to address the grievances.
He said: “In keeping with our ethos, therefore, I shall continue to address the ensuing challenges and grievances through the party machinery while paying keen attention to the outcomes.
“I must also remind you of the primacy of justice in all our actions. If justice is denied, the outcome is usually unpleasant.
“This is because you are the members who keep the party running. I should add that as part of the policy of using the party machinery for effective resolution of conflict, the Chairman and some members of the National Working Committee visited the National Assembly recently to dialogue with our legislators.
“The leadership of the party is currently addressing the outcomes as part of the way forward. I am encouraging all the party functionaries to adhere to the truth and to be fair to all parties in any dispute.”
President Buhari told the APC senators that the strength and victory of the party in the election will depend on unity, and the ability to prevent injustices and heal wounds.