Senate President Bukola Saraki has eventually replied the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, over the appointment of principal officers of the Senate.
He said his hands were tied by Senate extant rules and convention.
Saraki had defied the party’s decision that he should fill the remaining leadership positions in the Senate in line with a list forwarded to him in a letter.
The letter written by Oyegun had endorsed Senator Ahmed Lawan from Yobe as Senate Leader and Senator George Akume as Deputy Senate Leader among others. But Saraki had on Thursday announced Senators Ali Ndume from Yobe State and Bala Ibn Na Allah from Kebbi for the two positions.
In the letter dated June 25, and entitled: “Party Position on Principal Officers of 8th Senate,” Saraki said the various zonal caucuses of APC had made their choices of candidates for principal offices in the parliament in accordance with parliamentary convention and extant provisions of Senate Standing Orders before the arrival of the party’s letter”.
Furthermore, Saraki said the decisions of various caucuses’ choices of officers were at variance with the nominations contained in the letter.
He said though he felt obliged to act on the party’s recommendations, he was handicapped by the provisions of Senate Standing Orders as he pledged to be a loyal party member.
The letter read: “With reference to your letter No.APC/NHDQ/01/015/05,dated 23rd June, 2015, in respect of the captioned subject matter forwarding the names of the principal officers for the Senate.
“The said letter was received after the various decisions to nominate candidates as principal officers of the Senate in line with parliamentary convention and the extant provisions of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended (Chapter VI, Rules 28, 29 and 31 refers). This was a follow up to the prior APC Senate caucus meeting held on 23rd June, 2015.
“Accordingly, the letters transmitting the decision of the APC caucuses do not conform to the recommendations as contained in your letter under reference. (Please see annexures 1,2 and 3 attached herewith)
“Furthermore, whilst one is strongly persuaded to toe party line and act in accordance with 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 l seek your understanding in this regards.
“However, I wish to state without equivocation that I remain loyal to our great party and its leadership and also fully committed to the change agenda of Mr. President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Both the APC leadership and President Buhari had, however, insisted on the sanctity of the party’s list.
President Buhari was said to be meeting with APC Senators on Friday night on how to resolve the controversy.