Premium Times - A prominent member of a group of senators opposed to the election of Bukola Saraki as Senate President, has denied that a meeting between his group and supporters of Mr. Saraki, Wednesday, sought to canvass support for the embattled senate leader who is a facing corruption trial.
Kabiru Marafa, the spokesperson of the so-called Unity Forum, said the meeting with the Like Minds group was beyond Mr. Saraki, and was about forging a united All Progressives Congress, APC.
The meeting was rare given the antagonistic past of the two sides. Held at the Asokoro residence of Aliyu Wammakko, a former Sokoto State governor, the meeting had in attendance 10 senators – five from each of the two camps.
Mr. Wammakko had told PREMIUM TIMES “the meeting has brought an end to crisis in the Senate between APC Senators who now support the Senate President, Bukola Saraki”.
A member of the anti-Saraki group also told PREMIUM TIMES they had given conditions for reconciliation. One of the demands was the reconstitution of senate committees in favour of APC senators.
But speaking to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday, Mr. Marafa said the meeting was not convened to “rally around Saraki”.
“What brought about the meeting at Senator Wamakko’s residence was the realization that we the APC Supporters should unite in the interest of our party and the objectives of President Muhammadu Buhari,” Mr. Marafa said.
He said in view of Mr. Saraki’s trial the Code of Conduct Tribunal, it was imperative for APC Senators to unite and bury their differences to forestall a situation where PDP will take over the Senate Presidency should Mr. Saraki lose.
Mr. Marafa confirmed that the meeting agreed that the composition of the committees be reviewed.
“Our committees are illegal; so, it is agreed that they will now be according to the law,” he said.
Also, the issue of members of the Unity Forum who were “disenfranchised” in the composition of the committees would be addressed, Mr. Marafa said, adding that “and number three, we should be united and work together as one party because of our party and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari”.
“Burying our differences to work together as one or saying no more crisis with our colleagues who supported Saraki is not same as saying we backed down and rallied around the Senate President at this time,” Mr. Marafa in reaction to PREMIUM TIMES’ earlier report on the meeting.
“That is capable of damaging my reputation and character. I have been receiving calls since morning from everywhere from people asking if we were abandoning the struggle.
“I would have made all the money in the course of this fight. I would have got any committee I wanted. But we have stayed firm. So, why will I now announce rallying around Saraki?
“The meeting is about our party and government, not anybody,” Mr. Marafa said.