By Nuel Suji, Abuja.
President of the senate, Sen. Bukola Saraki has written to the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying his “hands were tied” in the matter of the selection of principal officers of the senate.
Saraki’s explanation became necessary in the light of the development in which new principal officers other than those nominated by his All Progressive Party (APC) were elected.
National chairman of APC, Mr. John Oyegun had on June 23 written to Saraki, stating the party’s choice of principal officers of the senate.
The APC had nominated Ahmad Lawan as senate majority leader, George Akume as deputy majority leader, Olusola Adeyeye as chief whip, and Abu Ibrahim deputy chief whip.
But on Thursday, Saraki announced Ali Ndume as majority leader, Bala Na’Allah as deputy majority leader and Francis Alimikhena as deputy chief whip after the various APC senate caucuses nominated them.
In his letter dated June 25, the senate president explained that the APC senate caucuses had already taken a decision on the matter before he received the letter from the party.
“The said letter (Oyegun’s letter) was received after various APC zonal caucuses had taken their decisions to candidates as principal officers of the senate in line with parliamentary convention and the extant provisions of the senate standing orders 2015 as amended,” Saraki’s letter read.
“Furthermore whilst one is strongly persuaded to toe party line and act in accordance with the suggested party position, regrettably clear provisions of our extant rules and standard parliamentary convention have not given me that leeway to act otherwise.
“Therefore, my hands are tied in the circumstances and I seek your understanding in this regard.”
However, he added that without equivocation he remained “loyal to our great party and its leadership and also fully committed to the change agenda of the Mr President of the federal republic of Nigeria”.