The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the struggle for the leadership of the National Assembly continued unabated yesterday, as the attempt by senators to finally settle their differences through zoning of offices ended in a brawl.
for sharing outstanding principal positions in the upper chamber, the senators who rode on the message of “Change” doing things differently from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, forgot all that as it was a free for all.
At the meeting of the party with APC senators on Monday night, the office of Senate Leader was zoned to the North-east with Senator Ahmad Lawan as the choice of candidate, while the Chief Whip’s office was zoned to the South-west, with Senator Olusola Adeyeye (Osun Central) as the candidate.
In the same vein, the Deputy Senate Leader’s office was zoned to the North-central and Senator George Akume (Benue North-west) was tipped for the office, while Senator Abu Ibrahim (Katsina South, North-west) was tipped for the office of Deputy Chief Whip.
But rebellious members angered but the Leadership of the party to decide for them took over the meeting called by the President of the senate and pictured are some of the faces of the fighting senators.
However, trouble started yesterday when at a closed-door session held by the APC caucus, Saraki told the senators that each zonal caucus should meet and present their choices for the offices.
In reaction, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna North), a member of the Senate Unity Forum, rejected the suggestion by Saraki that each zonal caucus should present the officers to represent them, saying it was the exclusive preserve of the party to do so.
He insisted that the party would bring the names of the officers.
At this point, Senator Tayo Alasoadura (Ondo Central), the only South-west senator who belongs to Saraki’s camp, shouted Hunkuyi down, saying, “No, the party will not decide for us,” as he queried the rationale for the choice of Adeyeye by the party for the post of Chief Whip, remarking that Senator Ajayi Borrofice (Ondo North) would have been a better choice.
This submission was said to have infuriated Senator Kabir Marafa (Zamfara Central) who accosted Alasoadura in anger and pushed him violently, prompting other senators to rush and rescue him from Marafa.
Hunkuyi obviously angered by the incident, rushed to the door, opened it and invited the press to cover the unwholesome melee.
THISDAY learnt yesterday that the list of officers for the Senate’s principal offices was sent to Saraki by the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun.
It was learnt that the party’s list contained the name of Lawan as Senate Leader, Akume as Deputy Senate Leader, Adeyeye as Chief Whip and Ibrahim as the Deputy Whip.
THISDAY further learnt that Saraki’s group had, however, made the choice of Senator Francis Alimikhena, the only senator from the South-south on the platform of APC for the office of Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Adeyeye as Chief Whip, and Senator Na’ala from the North-west as Deputy Chief Whip.
But the party eliminated Alimikhena and opted for Akume who, like Saraki, hails from the North-central.
Yesterday’s melee was indicative that the reconciliation said to have been reached among the senators was anything but real, as the altercation was premised on factional affiliations.