Don’t Defect, Buhari Urges Saraki
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Thursday made deft moves to avert an impending exodus of its bigwigs to the leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The peace initiative, THISDAY gathered, was being spearheaded by President Muhammadu Buhari, who Thursday met with Senate President Bukola Saraki, believed to be the arrowhead of the impending mass movement, and appealed to him to stay back in the party.
Saraki and other aggrieved top members of the APC massed in the reformed All Progressives Congress (rAPC), including Governors Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) had met with the leaders of the PDP on Wednesday in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State, to consider the absorption of the rAPC.
THISDAY had reported Thursday that although the PDP leaders, including Governor Nyesom Wike and the party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, had gone to Ilorin ostensibly to commiserate with Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, an rAPC chieftain, over the death of his mother, a meeting to discuss their possible crossover to the PDP actually held.
Buhari’s meeting with Saraki, the outcome of which was not made public, held simultaneously with another, between Ortom, who had indicated on Tuesday that he had technically left the APC, and the National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole.
THISDAY gathered that Saraki’s meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa Thursday was set up by APC governors, including Alhaji Aminu Masari (Katsina State), Senator Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun State) and Senator Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi State), who after initial discussions with the Senate president at his Abuja residence on Wednesday night, prevailed on the president to meet with him and persuade him not to defect from the party.
The APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole too, THISDAY learnt, spent much of Monday at Saraki’s house trying to straighten things out.
Oshiomhole’s effort was said to have been followed up in Ilorin on Wednesday by the Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Niyi Adebayo, who led a delegation on a fence mending mission.
Masari, Amosun and Bagudu were said to have advised Buhari to meet with Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, to persuade them to reconsider their decision to move out of the APC as this could adversely affect the fortune of the party in 2019.
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