With the trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki set to resume today at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), a fresh proposition has been placed before him that could pave the way for a soft landing if he will toe the party line.
In a backroom deal being brokered by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), among whom is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogora, the Senate President is being offered a “political solution” to his trial for false declaration of assets at the tribunal.
Should he accept it, this may pave the way for the emergence of Senator Ahmad Lawan as the new Senate leader and Senator George Akume as his deputy.
A senator told THISDAY in confidence yesterday that the proposal had been made to Saraki as the only condition for a political solution to his ordeal at the tribunal.
The senator said that while the deputy majority leader, Ibn Na’Allah, had agreed to step down provided he is given a Grade A committee of his choice to chair, majority leader, Ali Ndume, has rejected the proposal.
THISDAY learnt that Dogara and Saraki held a marathon meeting over the proposal at the new wing of the Senate yesterday evening.
THISDAY further gathered that the Senate President has been under pressure to communicate to his allies in the Senate including Ndume, Na’Allah, and the deputy majority whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena, on the need to toe the party line with respect to the composition of principal offices in the upper chamber.
In this regard, Saraki was said to have communicated to the trio of Ndume, Na’Allah and Alimikhena of the insistence of the party that they should vacate their offices.
It was also learnt that Lawan has been intimated of Saraki’s readiness to announce him as the new Senate leader.
The National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, had on June 24 written separate letters to Saraki and Dogara, listing the names of party’s choices for various principal posts in their respective chambers.
While Dogara succumbed to pressure and kept faith with the party’s choices, Saraki’s allies in the Senate adamantly refused to accept APC’s demands.
The chairman, in the letter to Saraki, had named Lawan (North-east) as majority leader; Prof. Sola Adeyeye (South-west) as chief whip; Akume (North-central) as deputy majority leader; and Abu Ibrahim (North-west) as deputy chief whip.
But Saraki named Ndume Senate leader, Na’allah his deputy, Adeyeye as majority whip and Alimikhena as the deputy majority whip.
His refusal to comply with the party’s request has been blamed for charges preferred against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).