The battle for supremacy between Atiku and Tinubu was what paved the way for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, Ike Ekweremadu, to emerge as the Deputy Senate #President. Because both were desperate to have maximum control over the party structure so that party decisions could favour them at all times.
There are strong indications that two power blocs within the All Progressives Congress are now engaged in a fierce battle for the soul of the party.
Saturday PUNCH’s investigations on Friday revealed that the battle between the two power blocs to control the party: one led by Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu and the other led by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, played out during Tuesday’s National Assembly leadership elections.
The ruling party’s preferred candidates in both the Senate and the House of Representatives were defeated by party members who contested the elections against the wishes of the party. The battle for supremacy between the two power blocs led to the emergence of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, Ike Ekweremadu, as the Deputy Senate President.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that both Atiku and Tinubu were desperate to have maximum control over the party structure so that party decisions could favour them at all times.
It was learnt that the two blocs wanted their candidates to emerge principal officers of the National Assembly since that would automatically qualify their candidates to become members of the party’s National Executive Committee, which is the highest decision arm of the party.
Senator Bukola Saraki emerged the President of the Senate at a time when leading figures of the party including Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande and #APC Senators as well as members of the House of Representatives were waiting for President Muhammadu #Buhari at the International Conference Centre for a crucial meeting.
The party’s NWC earlier held a shadow election in which Senators Ahmad Lawan and George Akume emerged as the party’s candidates for Senate President and Deputy Senate President respectively.
But, Atiku, Saturday PUNCH learnt, was never in support of the mock election believed to be spearheaded by the APC national leader as the former Vice President was bent on breaking Tinubu’s influence on the party’s NWC.
As things stand, most of the current members of the APC’s National Working Committee are Tinubu’s loyalists. With the outcome of the National Assembly leadership elections, there are strong indications that the Tinubu camp, which many agree, boasts of the likes of Lawan and Akume are not prepared to let the matter rest. Sources said the Tinubu camp, though still jolted by its initial ‘defeat’ would likely spring a surprise in the days ahead.
It was gathered that members of the Senators Unity Forum, who supported the party’s candidates are queuing behind Tinubu and are likely to continue to do so in the days to come.
It was learnt that in supporting the aspirations of Saraki and Dogara, Atiku had argued that democracy could better be served when the principle of internal democracy is respected.
It was further learnt that Saraki’s publicised visit to Atiku’s residence a few hours after his emergence, was part of the power play.
By virtue of their new positions as Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Saraki and Dogara, have become automatic members of the National Executive Committee, the highest decision making body of the party. Their positions also confer on them automatic membership of the party’s Board of Trustees and National Executive Committee.
A leading member of the party’s NWC, who confided in Saturday PUNCH, explained that the unfolding scenario is likely to open up new frontiers in the power struggle within the party.
According to him, decisions at NEC from now on will be keenly contested by the two power blocs.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the outcome of the National Assembly elections would likely affect decisions to be taken on ministerial nominees as some of the candidates in Tinubu’s camp may be rejected during screening by the Saraki/Atiku group.
Source: The Punch
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