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President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday night met with the Senate Unity Forum led by Senator Ahmad Lawan.
SUNDAY PUNCH learnt that during the meeting, which was held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Buhari insisted on party supremacy and supported steps taken so far by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress on the National Assembly crisis.
The APC, had before the National Assembly leadership election, endorsed Lawan as its sole candidate for the senate presidency, but Senator Bukola Saraki defied the party to emerge as the senate president.
The party had also on Wednesday wrote the Senate President and submitted names of its candidates for the senate principal offices.
In the letter, it named Lawan as its choice for the majority leader; Prof. Sola Adeyeye as the chief whip; George Akume as deputy majority leader; and Abu Ibrahim as deputy chief whip.
But on Thursday Saraki read nominations by the APC zonal caucuses for the positions. The North-East caucus of the party nominated Senator Ali Ndume as the Majority Leader; while the North-West put forward, Bala Na’Allah as the deputy majority leader.
The South-South caucus adopted Francis Alimikhena as the deputy chief.
In his reply on Thursday to the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the Senate President explained why he could not abide by the party’s directive on the offices.
“Whilst one is strongly persuaded to toe the party line and act in accordance with the suggested party position, regrettably, clear provisions of our extant rules and standard parliamentary convention have not given me that leeway to act otherwise. Therefore, my hands are tied in the circumstances and I seek your understanding in this regard,” he had said.
A senator, who was among the team that met with Buhari in company with Lawan, told one of our correspondents on conditions of anonymity, that the president assured them that he would always align with the party’s position on the issue of the National Assembly election.
The senator said, “Yes, we met with the president and it was a fruitful one, going forward. We had the assurances of Mr. President that he is fully behind the position of the APC leadership on the National Assembly election.
“We are currently on recess but I am sure that when we resume, Nigerians will begin to see the effect of the meeting. I won’t say more than that. “
SUNDAY PUNCH learnt that the plan was for the President to meet as many of the various groups that had emerged in the National Assembly.
A top member of the party, who confided in SUNDAY PUNCH, said, “Yes. The President met with Senator Lawan and some APC senators. The plan is for him to also meet House of Representatives members from the party too.”