In the morning of Tuesday, July 24, 2018, Nigerians were greeted with the news of security officials blocking the residences of Bukola Saraki, the president of the Nigerian Senate and Ike Ekweremadu, the deputy president of the Nigerian Senate.
As this drama played out, in a posh hotel in Abuja, senators loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari led by the Senate majority leader, Ahmed Lawan were plotting to overthrow Senator Saraki and appoint one of their own to lead the legislative arm.
According to multiple sources, this “coup” was being funded and fuelled by the cabal in Aso Rock led by the president’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari who allegedly was bribing the 44 senators involved in the plot with N100 million each.
However, in a move still shuddered in mystery, Dr. Saraki “escaped the security blockade” and made it to the ground of the National Assembly Complex. He presided over a Senate plenary session in which 15 All Progressives Congress senators decamped, mostly to the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP and the African Development Alliance, ADP.
With the defections, the APC lost control of the Senate as the PDP became the majority in the red chamber and the Senate adjourned sitting till September 25, 2018.
Buhari had failed to unseat Saraki and install his loyalist and the power games leading up to 2019 continue.
A statement from Aso Rock issued by Garba Shehu, one of the spokespersons of President Buhari wished the defectors well as he then declared his “love” for democracy.
Buhari noted that the party had tried its best to stop the defections. Keeping to his “god complex”, he said that the defections had nothing to do with him as a person.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his total commitment to the values of democracy, freedom of choice as well as total willingness to work with all members of the National Assembly, irrespective of their political party, for the benefit of the nation,” the statement published on Facebook in the afternoon of Tuesday said.
“In his reaction to the developments on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, at the National Assembly, the President noted that none of the defecting federal lawmakers of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had any specific grievances against him or the government he leads; neither did he harbour anything against any of them.
“As the saying goes, all politics is local. We understand that some of the distinguished and honourable lawmakers have issues with their home states, especially on zoning which bars some of them from seeking another term in their constituencies.”
“Noting that the APC had done its utmost to stop the defections, the President commended the leadership of the party for relentlessly working for its unity and ensuring success in the upcoming elections.
“President Buhari assured members of the APC of his total support and urged party faithful not to despair but to see the defections as a seasonal occurrence that happens on election eve.
“He expressed confidence that no harm or injury will be done to the party and its aspirations by the movements.
“President Buhari wished all the decamped members the best in their future undertakings,” the statement ended.
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