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Saraki: Anxiety as Buhari, APC senators meet

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Before the APC senators met with Buhari and Oshiomhole they met at the National Assembly. No fewer than 10 senators attended the brief meeting.

Twenty-four hours after Senate President, Bukola Saraki, defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), anxiety has engulfed the upper legislative chambers, following a meeting some All Progressives Congress (APC) senators, led by Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, held with President Muhammadu Buhari, APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole and others.

This came on the heels of speculations that APC senators are working towards reconvening the National Assembly, with the view to having senators act on request for 2019 elections funds, as well as push for change of leadership.

Following the speculation, PDP members in the House of Representatives alleged move to impeach Saraki and vowed to resist any such plot.

Before the APC senators met with Buhari and Oshiomhole at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, they met at the National Assembly. No fewer than 10 senators attended the brief meeting.

Senators who attended the meeting included Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, Hope Uzodimma, Yusuf Yusuf, Ali Ndume, Umar Kurfi, Abdullahi Gumel, Aliyu Wammako, Ajayi Boroffice, Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, Danjuma Goje, Abdullahi Yahaya, Sunny Ogbuoji and Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.

Sources in the Senate said the agenda of the lawmakers was to discuss possible reopening of the Senate to pass the 2019 election budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and change the Senate leadership, since Saraki has dumped the party on whose platform he was elected as Senate president.

After the meeting at the National Assembly, the senators left with the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, to the Presidential Villa, where they meet with President Buhari and Oshiomhole. Details of their discussion at the villa were not revealed.

Meanwhile, it was gathered that the planned reopening of the chamber may have been overtaken by events as one claimed that the leadership of the National Assembly had, last week, met with the management of INEC and resolved the issue of the budget.

The source said the issue was amicably resolved to the effect that INEC should keep utilising the funds already contained in the already passed 2018 budget till the two chambers reconvene in October.

“We were shocked by the meeting convened by some Senators who were said to be exploring the planned reconvening of the Senate and the House,” a source said, adding that the National Assembly has no problem approving the N242 billion election budget proposal for 2019 election. The rules of the Senate, however, leaves the power to reconvene the chamber in the hands of either the Senate President or the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The Senate Rule Book 2015 as amended reads: “Whenever the Senate stands adjourned, either to a date fixed by the rule of the Senate or to a date determined in accordance with paragraph (1) of his Rule and it is represented by the leaders of the political parties in the Senate to the Senate President that the Public interest requires that the Senate should meet on an earlier or a later date or time than that on which it stands adjourned, the President of the Senate may give notice accordingly, and the Senate shall meet on the date and at the time stated in the notice.”

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