Why PDP’s ‘grand’ plan to take over senate presidency may have reached a dead end

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is aiming to get its back off the floor by wresting the leadership of the Senate Presidency away from the All Progressives Congress party (APC). PDP is said to be bracing itself for a sensational take-over of the red chamber in the event that Senate President, Bukola Saraki, is upset by his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

Over the past few days, there has been speculation regarding possible scenarios that could play out if the Senate president is kicked out by the CCT.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Senator Peter Nwaboshi, has threatened that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will assume authority over the Senate Presidency if Senator Bukola Saraki (APC, Kwara central) is removed.

PDP’s grand plan.

In a bid to win the 2019 presidential elections, the PDP caucus is making some moves to take over the third highest seat of authority in the country, following Saraki’s case at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

Senator Nwaboshi said they were ready to replicate what the United States of America is currently doing, where the Republican Party is in charge of the parliament and the Democrats are in control of the executive.

“I was the first to address the press in Port Harcourt and I told them that Saraki was going to win the Senate Presidency and I gave them my reasons. Eventually, we went there, he won. If, but God forbids, because we don’t see it coming, by chance Saraki is removed; I can tell you that the PDP will produce the next Senate President,” he said. “We only need three and we have it. The calculation is very clear to me. The calculation is very clear for the PDP. We know what it will take us. When I told them that Saraki was going to win, I did a lot of mathematical calculations based on the facts on the ground and it is even clearer to me now that the PDP will win it. We will win it.”

He also added that if anybody is thinking that a member of the PDP is going to vote against a candidate of the same party, it would be a lie. “We have people and we know how to get the people from the APC. We will win and that will be very interesting. I can tell you, with what’s on the ground, we will produce the next Senate President.”

Furthermore, the opposition party is banking on the frustration that may arise among the APC senators in the event that the Senate president is embittered by his ongoing trial and starts reaching out to those loyal to him amongst the senators. The plan is to either get them to defect to the PDP or work with the party to once again produce the Senate president if Saraki is convicted by the CCT. The latter option seems more conceivable.

No one said it was going to be easy

The fierce battle to replace the third most powerful man in the country, Dr. Bukola Saraki, by desperate senators of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), may have reached a dead end.

In a concordant judgment, the apex court panel, presided by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohamed, agreed that Saraki should be tried, even as it maintained an earlier verdict of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, which ruled that the Senate President should face prosecution before the CCT.

With an inkling that his trial may not be ruled in favour the ruling party, thereby opening up the Senate presidency’s seat, the PDP Senators who have stuck together since the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly, were believed to have been scheming another surprise. However, there have been rumours around who would replace Saraki if he is removed.

Political analysts, basing their arguments on the current composition of the Senate, were on the edge about the possibility of the PDP upsetting the APC. As it stands now, the APC party has 57 Senators, while the PDP has 46. Six seats, with three in Rivers, one in Imo, another one in Anambra and one in Kogi states, are still pending. Rivers, Anambra and Imo states are believed to be under the strong hold of the PDP, while Kogi can go either way. If the PDP secures the six slots, the Senate will now be divided 57 to the APC and 52 to the opposition.

Disturbed by a likely takeover of the Senate by the opposition, APC Senators have suddenly woken up and are leaving no stone unturned.

In their latest quest to counter the PDP’s rumoured plan, the two factions of the party in the Red Chamber, the pro-saraki group and the other group that never wanted him to be senate president, have decided to bury their differencies and are looking to save the party.

APC senators expressed worry that, while the opposition remained united, the APC caucus was ensnared in crisis, which weakened the party. The lawmakers expressed fear that if Saraki was removed today, the PDP stood a better chance to take over the leadership of the Senate.

Several meetings have been held by both groups within the ruling party, APC, on how to quell the differences they have against each other in the interest of the party, so as not to lose the senate presidency to the opposition. Furthermore, should Saraki be removed by the CCT, they will be able to get a replacement easily, based on their numerical strength in the house.

With this move by the ruling party, this may just be a setback for the PDP.

It should be noted that Saraki had outwitted his own party by emerging as the Senate President, following his alliance with the PDP Senators in June, last year, when the Senate was inaugurated.

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