FORCES loyal to Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are set for a major battle ahead of Senate’s resumption in September following indications that a former president had advised President Muhammadu Buhari to remove the Senate leadership by all means possible.
Some online outfits reported last week that the visit of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the Presidential Villa last week Centred on the need for the president to remove the leadership of the Senate to stave off distractions to his government.
Though there was no official confirmation of the discussions between Obasanjo and Buhari, it was confirmed that senators loyal to both sides of the divide are already weighing options ahead of the battle royale.
Sources close to the Senate said that the lawmakers loyal to Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu see an impeachment bid as a tall order but are not ready to take chances.
The Presidency has refused to patronise the National Assembly as a result of divisions within the ruling APC over the emergence of Saraki as Senate President.
Sources in the Senate said that Saraki’s loyalists got a boost two weeks ago when the caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) met and further decided to firm up a working relationship with Saraki.
But insiders in the National Assembly said that if the Presidency was ready to “roll out the drums” the support base of the Senate President and his deputy could get eroded.
“Right now, the support base of the Senate President and Senator Ekweremadu appears solid. The executive has failed to treat the National Assembly as a partner and thus has alienated the lawmakers. But if the rule changes, we cannot be too sure what will happen,” a lawmaker said on Saturday.
Sources said that the Senate already had a fertile ground for opposition to Saraki with the existence of the Senate Unity Forum (SUF).
“Right now, it appears that very few senators will back Saraki’s ouster in view of the collateral damage they have suffered from the executive in the last one year. The only game changer would come if the people see real changes,” another senator said.
Other members of the Senate, however, condemned the advice attributed to Obasanjo, saying it shows he doesn’t want the Buhari government to know peace.
“If it is true that Baba [Obasanjo] said President Buhari should impeach the leadership of the Senate, that would be counterproductive and doesn’t show the former president wants peace for the new government. We should find solutions rather than heat up the polity,” a lawmaker of the APC said.
It was however gathered that loyalists of the APC hierarchy had mapped out measures aimed at getting at Saraki.
One of the measures is to draw up a list of those who could be reached with mouthwatering largesse from those who want the Senate President out.
“By September, both camps would be ready. I assure you it would be a big battle if the executive kickstarted it,” another senator said.