Facts have emerged showing why Senate President Bukola Saraki led a delegation of Senators to meet former President Olusegun Obasanjo at his hilltop mansion, Abeokuta, Ogun state on Friday.
A source close to the meeting told PREMIUM TIMES that the Senate President was in Abeokuta to beg Mr. Obasanjo to reconcile him with President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Mr. Saraki emerged as the president of the Senate against the decision of APC leaders. He was also elected when most Senators from the APC were at the International Conference Centre waiting to hold a meeting with Mr. Buhari to discuss the election of the Senate president and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Our sources said Mr. Saraki lamented to Mr. Obasanjo that although the party leaders have stated that they have accepted his emergence, there was “complete communication breakdown between him, the president and the party”.
The national chairman of the APC, John Oyegun, had abruptly cancelled a scheduled meeting with Mr. Saraki last week without giving another appointment.
Likewise, we also gathered that Mr. Saraki had tried severally to meet with Mr. Buhari after his emergence, but was always denied audience.
Another source in the presidency informed us that the President was angry with Mr. Saraki and the management of the national assembly for going ahead with their election despite adequate knowledge of an invitation for a meeting with Mr. Saraki and his colleagues.
“The president considered it as a mark of disrespect for his office for Saraki to ignore an invitation to meet with him and his colleagues,” our source said.
In his response to the Senate President’s lamentation, Mr. Obasanjo reportedly promised to do his best to “ensure communication between all parties”.
However, the spokesperson for the president, Garba Shehu, said the Senate president has never sought a meeting meeting with Mr. Buhari since his election.
“I am not aware of any request for a meeting, the president would have seen him, he represents a key institution in our democracy,” he said.
Calls to Mr. Saraki and his aide, Bamikole Omishore, were not answered.
Our source said the former president, in his usual jocular self, also joked with the delegation, saying “ you children of nowadays only run to elders when you have finished making the damage”.
Mr. Saraki and his entourage laughed.
A presidency official told PREMIUM TIMES President Buhari was aware of the the senate president’s visit to Mr. Obasanjo’s home.
The official said Messrs Buhari and Obasanjo are constantly in touch and regularly have telephone conversations.
The official said in one of their recent conversations, Mr. Obasanjo informed Mr. Buhari that Mr. Saraki was leading a delegation of Senators to his Abeokuta home.
“I overheard President Buhari laughing and saying to Mr. Obasanjo, “you have to see them, are they not all your boys?”, our presidency source said.
Among Mr. Saraki’s delegation include former governor of Gombe state, Danjuma Goje, Senator Andy Uba, former Zamfara governor, Ahmed Sani, and former Osun governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
Mr. Saraki and most members of his delegation are largely Mr. Obasanjo’s “boys”, a term loosely used in describing the former president’s staunch loyalists.