Teddy Oscar, Abuja
The crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) appeared to be heading for the worse on Tuesday, as its Senate caucus members resorted to exchange of blows over the four remaining key positions of the 8th Senate.
It was gathered that the crux of the matter was how the key positions of the Senate Majority Leader, Deputy Senate Leader, Senate Chief Whip and Deputy Senate Whip would be distributed.
It was also gathered that the dirty fight was squarely an intra Senate Unity Forum (SUF) affair, whose members failed to an agreement from the meeting.
The Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, had earlier at the Plenary announced a meeting of the APC caucus by 2 p.m. at the Senate Meeting Room 3:01, which also happens to be the Senate President’s meeting room.
The meeting, which incidentally was the first time both factions of the APC Senate caucus would be brought together since their division for their quest for the Senate Presidency, took a rowdy turn towards the end.
That was when some members of the SUF made their entry into the meeting room, which doubles as the Senate President’s meeting room.
Out correspondent gathered that nearly 50 of the APC senators were at the meeting when it was agreed that the North-East caucus would produce the Senate Majority Leader, while the North-West was allocated the position of the Deputy Senate Leader.
Out correspondent also learnt that Senate Chief Whip was given to the South-West, while that of the Deputy Whip was zoned to the South-South.
But Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi from Kaduna State insisted that the earlier zoning arrangements did not represent the correct position of the ruling Party.
It was also learnt that a list of the Party’s preferred zonings and candidates was sent from the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, to the office of the Senate President.
The supposed preferred Party’s list had Senator Ahmad Lawan from North-East as the Senate Majority Leader, Senator George Akume from North-Central as the Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Olusola Adeyeye from South-West as the Senate Chief Whip and Senator Abu Ibrahim from North-West as the Deputy Chief Whip.
Hunkuyi’s efforts to force the list on his colleagues on the ground that the Party’s position should be followed, however, fell on deaf ears.
It was at this point that Senator Tayo Alasoasura from Ondo State was said to have made a suggestion that Senator Ajayi Boroffice (also from Ondo State) to take the South-West’s slot.
This supposed suggestion did not go down well with Senator Kabir Marafa from Zamfara State, who charged at Alasoasura, and started beating him before their some of their colleagues quickly intervened.
In his explanations later, Hunkuyi maintained that what transpired at the Senate was against the supreme decision of the APC as a party.
“The issue of leadership of the chamber that belongs to the group of the APC cannot be decided here. It is common reasoning and common sense. We have a leadership of the party. The leadership of the party, that is the APC, still reigns supreme to decide the four positions of leadership where it should go and who shall have it. An attempt here to do otherwise is the cause of this rancour,” he said.
Also reacting to the fight, Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Danbaba from Sokoto State observed that what the APC was trying to do was against convention.
“I want to say this, it is against convention. We are first timers. We are just coming, but our senior colleagues, I heard them say, that by convention members of the National Assembly always elect or choose their leaders. It is not the party that does the choosing for the National Assembly,” he said.