President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday held a closed door meeting with Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
NigerianEye understands that the meeting was part of last minutes efforts to stop Saraki and aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from leaving the ruling party.
The members, who have formed a bloc which already is in alliance with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and over 30 parties, may pull out of the APC in less than a month.
The politicans are almost against time since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had scheduled the conduct of Presidential and National Assembly Primary Elections to begin on August 18, 2018.
The 24-hour arrangement
We exclusively gathered that the meeting presided by Buhari was at the instance of some APC Governors.
The state chief executives had visited Saraki Wednesday night after he returned to Abuja from Ilorin.
They reached out to him on phone earlier in the day after news spread that opposition chieftains were also in Ilorin.
Although Saraki’s trip to the Kwara capital was for the burial of his ally’s mother, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, it turned out to be a political assembly of disgruntled APC stalwarts and PDP leaders.
Photos from the event which showed the supposed political opponents hobnobbing and all smiles were said to have unsettled the presidency and APC leadership.
At the APC Governors-Saraki parley, the visitors told him they were seeking ways to reconcile the various groups in the APC. Saraki was said to have expressed readiness for sincere talks.
When they left, the Governors, who were in Abuja, for the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) meeting, later visited the President.
They informed him that he must change his stand that the deliberations be handled by the party leadership and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who met with the N-PDP faction at least thrice before talks broke down.
The nation’s leader then agreed for the meeting that held today.
Reliable sources disclosed that present at the Aso Rock meeting were Buhari, Osinbajo, Saraki and the mediating APC State Chiefs.
The agenda was clear: APC must ensure protesting leaders and their supporters do not exit the party.
The meeting deliberated on some burning issues in the party. Saraki tabled areas bothering him and other aggrieved topshots.
He also advised that others be visited or invited for genuine talks to enable the presidency and the APC hear individual feelings, plights and demands.
The meeting harped on the need for unity, with assurance that the accord process will work this time.
President Buhari thanked everyone in attendance and mandated the Governors to continue with further meetings and brief him directly.
Recall we had reported details of the Ilorin meeting.
In attendance were Saraki, PDP Chairman Prince Uche Secondus, Benue Governor Samuel Ortom, Sokoto Governor, Aminu Tambuwal and Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike.
Ex-Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, Senator Barnabas Gemade among others.
The prominent political figures were hosted by Kwara Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed.
In his reaction, APC spokesman, Bolaji Abdulahi, said the gathering had no political undertone.
“It wasn’t a meeting. It was Fidau for mother of Baraje. The APC NWC was also represented there”, he said.
Also speaking, Governor Ahmed said he was yet to take a decision on his political future with the APC.
Ahmed spoke through Dr Muyideen Akorede, his media adviser.
He explained that the presence of the personalities in Ilorin was “for the burial rites of the late mother of respected politician, Alhaji Kawu Baraje and was not for the purpose of a political realignment”.
“While I have not been briefed on any planned defection, I am aware that my principal and other political leaders in the state are gradually being shown the way out of the APC.”
When contacted, a source close to Saraki informed our correspondent: “They are all just talking. No one had joined anywhere yet”.