President Muhammadu Buhari has joined efforts to save the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from losing majority seats in the National Assembly by meeting with some aggrieved senators at the Presidential Villa.
There were fears of the mass exodus of Senators after many of them lost their return bid at the APC primaries across the nation.
The APC has lost seven senators to the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), fuelling speculation about 18 more might be firming up plans to defect from the ruling party and rob the party of the majority status in the National Assembly.
To save the imminent crash of the party’s control at the National Assembly, National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, last Wednesday, rallied some other members of the National Working Committee (NWC), including National Secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore, to a meeting with members of the Senate APC caucus.
However, at the Tuesday meeting with a group of Senators led by Chief Whip of the Senate Orji Uzor Kalu, Buhari assured the leadership of the party would sustain the hearing and healing process that it started to ensure fairness, justice and oneness before the 2023 general elections.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President noted that complaints were received by some members and machinery had been put in place by the NWC to address their various concerns.
In keeping with our ethos, therefore, I shall continue to address the ensuing challenges and grievances through the party machinery while paying keen attention to the outcomes.
“I must also remind you of the primacy of justice in all our actions. If justice is denied, the outcome is usually unpleasant.
“This is because you are the members who keep the party running. I should add that as part of the policy of using the party machinery for effective resolution of conflict, the Chairman and some members of the National Working Committee visited the National Assembly recently to dialogue with our legislators.
“The leadership of the party is currently addressing the outcomes as part of the way forward. I am encouraging all the party functionaries to adhere to the truth and to be fair to all parties in any dispute,’’ he said.
Buhari told the APC senators that the strength and victory of the party in the election will depend on unity of members and ability to prevent injustices or heal them, perceived or real.
He added: “I have noted your grievances particularly as it concerns the just concluded processes, the cost to the nation, the threat to the majority position held by our party in the legislative chambers and likely consequent cost to the electoral fortunes of our party as we approach the general elections. We must not allow these dire threats to come to pass.
“I must acknowledge that in every contest, there must be a level playing ground just as there would be grievances at the end. That is the test of our democratic credentials, systems and practices. I have since the conclusion of the processes been inundated with various reports and complaints.”
Kalu said at least 22 senators and members of the party were unhappy with the outcome of the primaries in their States, noting that they felt disenfranchised by the process.
He said the legislators had made sacrifices for the growth of the party and democracy in the country, asking for the President’s kind intervention.