Posted by Adamu Abuh and Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja | 26 May 2019 | 5,958 times
The National Vice Chairman South-South of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr. Hilliard Eta captured the feeling of his colleagues, when he described the loss of Zamfara State to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a sad development.
Indeed, members of the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) could not comprehend the declining fortunes of the party at an emergency meeting on Friday, at the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja, shortly after the Supreme Court verdict to deliberate on the matter.
The party chieftains, who were locked in intense blame game, were subsequently driven to the Presidential Villa at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, to explore avenues of managing the situation.
The self-inflicted damage has further compounded APC’s woes in the North, which hitherto was regarded as the party’s traditional base in view of the fact that Zamfara State has now joined its peers in Sokoto, Bauchi, Adamawa, Taraba and Benue states, which are already in the PDP fold.
The sad development further weakened the party’s numerical strength in the National Assembly with its 65 senators now reduced to 62, while its members in the House of Representatives plunged to 217 from 224.
In fact, there are very strong indications that ahead of the National Assembly leadership election, the APC aspirants for the Senate presidency – Senators Ahmed Lawan, Danjuma Goje and Mohammed Ali Ndume could be forced to concede the Deputy Senate Presidency and chairmanship of some key committees to the PDP, which now boasts 49 senators in the upper legislative chamber.
The YPP still occupies one seat, while the fate of two outstanding seats “won” by outgoing Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, and Senator Ben Uwajumogu are yet to be determined by the courts.
Already, one aspirant for the speakership of the House of Representatives, Mohammed Umar Bago, conscious of the realities on ground has openly promised to share committee chairmanship seats with the opposition parties on equal basis, in defiance of the APC leadership.
Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, who is the APC top contender for the speakership is said to have made concessions to the PDP caucus in order to achieve his goal.
However, Lawan, yesterday, assured that his chances would not be affected despite the changing dynamics and reduced strength of the APC in the Senate.
He said: “I have talked to 98 percent of all the senators-elect across all the political platforms of APC, PDP and YPP, and they are happy with that. So, it’s not a question of numbers, but that of interacting and to extracting commitments of our colleagues. Numbers would only come to play during the election of presiding officers, but I want to tell you that we are very comfortable; we are very confident that we have told our story to our colleagues because its a story of truth; it’s a story of struggle right from 1999 to make things better for the country.”
The PDP caucus in the House of Representatives while felicitating with the people of Zamfara State applauded the Supreme Court for the verdict, which saw the emergence of Mr. Bello Matawalle as Governor-elect of the state.
House Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, expressed optimism that the PDP would record more victories at the court in the days ahead.
He noted: “Indeed, it is sad to recall the autocratic tendencies and barefaced electoral manipulations undertaken by the APC during the last elections. But we feel consoled by the Nigerian judiciary’s boldness in discharging its responsibilities on the issue of barefaced anti-democratic practices flagrantly perpetrated in Zamfara State.
“Yari’s ‘magic’ was such that all the state’s three senatorial constituencies, seven House of Representatives seats and the entire 24 state House of Assembly positions were buccaneered into a very total, but unscrupulously-contrived APC victory.
“Like millions of Nigerians who never expected such manipulations that have short-circuited the people’s will, we anxiously wait to see a bold interpretation of the law and the truth in other electoral petitions that are now before the courts across Nigeria; PDP is sure of winning more seats.” (The Guardian)
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