By Samuel Ogundipe
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Senate President Bukola Saraki have concluded a closed-door meeting called by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo inside the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday, amidst indications that there’s a serious leadership crisis within the All Progressives Congress.
The meeting, which lasted for about 3hr:45mins, might not be unconnected with the ongoing alleged false assets declaration trial of Senator Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. The trial is widely believed to be part of numerous discontentments that have bedeviled the ruling APC since the emergence of principal officers of the 8th National Assembly.
It would be recalled that Saraki, House Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun and other principal officers of the National Assembly were elected against the permutations and internal arrangements of the APC.
Journalists were restricted from covering the meeting and were also denied access to conduct interviews with the leaders after the meeting. An official statement released by the Vice President’s office said, “Select leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, drawn from the party’s National Headquarters, the legislative and executive arms of government had a consultative meeting on issues affecting the party and the nation.
The statement further noted that, “The meeting, which held at the Vice President’s conference room, was very useful and resourceful towards achieving the goals of the party and the government.”
How to end the lingering apprehension that has gripped the nation following revelations that the 2016 budget contained a lot of duplicitous items was also said to have been discussed at the meeting, a source told Western Post. Senator Saraki had said he will continue to scrutinise the budget, first proposed in 2015, for more erroneous contents. But several leaders of the party and the Vice President are rumoured to be prevailing on the top lawmaker to plead with his colleagues at the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the budget in order to save Buhari administration further embarrassments and avoid damages to the economy that could stem from the indefinite delay.
Other leaders of the APC present at the meeting include: the APC National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, Chief Bisi Akande, Senator Ali Ndume, Deputy Speaker Lasun, Umana Umana and Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
While most of the leaders present at the meeting emerged with laughter and cross chats, Saraki came out alone wearing an angry face as he departed the Villa.