From Halima Abdulkadir
President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are to hold a make-or-break meeting with the leaders of the Reformed-All Progressives Congress (R-APC) at the Presidential Villa, later today.
The meeting is planned as a follow-up to the one held by the president, the APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole alongside some governors with Senate President Bukola Saraki, at the villa on Thursday.
Saraki and a number of opposition leaders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had met at his Ilorin home after a victory rally held by the Senate President at the ancient town.
The victory dance was aimed at celebrating Saraki’s victory at the Supreme Court over his long-drawn legal battle to prove his innocence on the allegations of false asset declaration preferred against him by the Federal Government.
The meeting in Ilorin had apparently got the leadership of the APC and the Presidency jittery as Saraki was promptly invited to the Presidential Villa, Abuja for peace talks.
Sources had said that the national chairman of APC was the first to initiate the peace moves with Saraki.
The Senate president, according to sources, asked if Oshiomhole had the mandate of the president to initiate the talks.
According to the source, it was when Oshiomhole answered in the affirmative that Saraki agreed to sit down with him for talks.
The preliminary talk between Oshiomhole and Saraki was to yield the Thursday’s meeting at the Aso Rock Villa, which had some APC governors in attendance alongside the president.
Sources at the meeting said that President Buhari promised to sign any agreement that would forestall the defection of Saraki and other bigwigs to the opposition PDP.
The follow-up meeting is scheduled for evening of Sunday 22/07/2018.
Meanwhile, the Senate president and other aggrieved members of the rAPC have been given a two-week deadline to decide on their defection to the opposition PDP. Apart from the Senate President and House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, others are governors Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) and Samuel Ortom (Benue), former governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, many senators and members of the House of Representatives.
On his part, Saraki has been making wide consultations with his allies, shuttling between Lagos and Ilorin even though a committee set up by him has said his loyalists prefer defection to PDP. The senate president is said to be in the last stages of consultations. “There is pressure from the two main parties on the President of the Senate. I can tell you that Saraki is on the last lap of consultation on whether to remain in APC or defect to PDP. “You can see that even the President, Vice President and some governors met with him at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Thursday. “A committee, set up to consult widely in all the zones and local government areas in Kwara State, has strongly recommended that he should defect. Left to members of the immediate family of Saraki, they do not want him to stay a day longer in APC because of his ordeal in the last three years.
“As a leader, the president of the Senate will hold a session with his associates, loyalists and strategists on whether to defect or not. The meeting will hold this week with Monday tentatively in mind. It is a moment he did not expect will come so soon after joining others to form a coalition which led to the birth of APC,” an APC insider said. But PDP’s spokesperson Kola Ologbondiyan denied that there a deadline for defection.
From Halima Abdulkadir