Following the apparent breakdown of confidence between the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and a group of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senators on the case of confirmation of former Rivers State governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, as a minister, the Senate President is now battling to regain the support of the angry PDP Senators, according to findings by Daily Times.
The breakdown of confidence between Saraki and PDP Senators stem from the insistence of Saraki to clear Amaechi, while mobilizing the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators to make Amaechi’s clearance possible.
The APC constitute the majority in the Senate and had deployed that to confirm Amaechi despite vehement opposition from the PDP Senators.
Saraki incurred the wrath of the PDP Senators with the manner he frustrated the opposition’s attempts to ensure that Amaechi was not cleared for ministerial appointment, while the latter demonstrated anger by walking out of the Senate when it was apparent that Amaechi would be cleared.
Members of the PDP Caucus in the Senate have been opposed to the idea of making Amaechi a minister in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari because doing so would amount to empowering him to fight the PDP government in his home state, Rivers.
Prior to Thursday’s plenary during which the screened ministers were confirmed by the Senate, some PDP members had threatened that they would withdraw support from Saraki in the event that he allowed Amaechi’s clearance.
The Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, had dismissed such insinuation though, indications are rife that Saraki still needs to move quickly to pacify the PDP members who are currently the bulwark of his support base.
Akpabio had said the walk-out staged by the PDP members against the APC’s was just to indicate that the PDP Senators were never in support of confirmation of Amaechi which he described as illegal, given the case of corruption pending against him.
He said the PDP Senators had no intention of withdrawing support from Saraki since they were not responsible for his election in the first instance.
Indication that all is not well in the camp of the Senate President emerged almost 24 hours after the screening of ministers ended in the Senate when the Court of Appeal on Friday in Abuja ruled that his ongoing trial by the Code of Conduct Tribunal must continue.
The Appeal Court has upheld the trial of the Senate president on 13 counts over a false assets’ declaration.
Senate Leader, Muhammed Ali Ndume in a chat said nothing has changed in the Senate, even with a walk out by the PDP senators last week.
He said the Senate remained one and will continue to be, as he hinted that the leadership has been engaging the PDP Senators in talks to ensure the stability of the Senate.
The Daily Times learnt that the joker Saraki has for retaining the support of the PDP Senators lies in the patronage he is planning to throw their way with the Senate Committees, the list of which may be released this week.
Saraki, according to one of his aides, has pencilled down some juicy committees for the PDP Senators, just as the Principal Officers in the Senate are said to be talking to the PDP senators to pull behind them the disappointment they suffered on the confirmation of Amaechi for a ministerial job.
Two Senators from PDP in separate chats with the Daily Times said they and other colleagues felt betrayed by Saraki with the manner he dumped them just for the screening of Amaechi recalling how all PDP members had rallied forces to stand by him on his ongoing ordeal with the CCT.
One of the Senators said with the turn of events, it may be difficult for Saraki to command the confidence of PDP senators, who he said, had solidarised with him during his trial by accompanying him to the Court in large number.
Saraki, he noted, still needs the PDP in view of plots to remove him as the Senate President, stating that to get such kind of support from members of the PDP means that the Senate President will work hard.