Former Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara with the support of senators elected on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP intriguingly outsmarted his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC on Tuesday morning to emerge the Senate President.
Saraki was unanimously elected the President of 8th session of the Senate of Nigeria National Assembly by less than 60 senators who were present at the inauguration of the new session of the Senate and was subsequently sworn in by Abubakar Sani, the clerk of the National Assembly.
APC is in majority control of the Senate with 59 members while the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has 49 members.
Saraki was nominated by Sani Yarima, former governor of Zamfara state. Dino Melaye, from Kogi state, seconded his nomination.
The clerk of the national assembly, called for more nominations and there was none, he declared Bukola the duly elected president of the senate.
Ahmad Lawan, the preferred candidate of the APC, was not nominated, neither was he present at the chamber of the Senate during the election as the meeting of President Muhammadu Buhari with lawmakers elected on the platform of APC was supposed to be going on at the International Conference Centre which is several kilometres away from the National Assembly at the time of the sitting.
NE learnt that senators loyal to Saraki boycotted the peace meeting called by President Muhammadu Buhari on his arrival from Germany in the early hours of today.
The meeting was called to douse controversies generated by the emergence of Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila, as APC’s candidates for Senate Presidency and Speakership in a straw poll conducted by the party at the weekend. But as some other legislators were heading for the Conference Centre, Senators supporting Saraki, especially those elected on the platform of PDP were already seated awaiting inauguration.
Indications that the inauguration will still hold emerged when the Clerk of the National Assembly entered the Chamber. Policemen and officials of other security had as early as 6:00 am blocked the road leading to the National Assembly to stop human and vehicular movement into the premises.
The emergence of Saraki as the Senate President was the actualisation of a coup plotted against the APC by PDP Senators elected on the platform of the opposition party on Monday night. At the end of the meeting which ended on Tuesday morning, the PDP Senators had endorsed the candidature Saraki as President of the Senate and Honourable Yakubu Dogara as the speaker of the House of Representatives.
This is against the preference of Lawan and Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila respectively for the same position.
Saraki who defected from PDP to APC in 2013 promised to cede the position of Deputy Senate President to his former party to get the support of the opposition legislators.
Hence, it was not a surprise that former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekewremandu was promptly nominated for the position of Deputy Senate President after the election of Saraki. Senator Ekweremandu was subsequently elected the Deputy Senate President.