But the PDP whose members made the emergence of Saraki and Dogara possible, congratulated the new leaders of the National Assembly, saying their elections underscored the fact that no section of the country should be neglected in national issues.
The PDP added in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, that the development in both chambers of the National assembly was “victory for democracy”.
It therefore urged the APC leadership to stop “whining and accept the will of the people, respect the independence of the legislature because it was not responsible for their (APC leaders) naivety and crass inexperience”.
The statement read, “What is paramount to the PDP is the sustenance of our democracy and the wellbeing of our people, irrespective of creed, class or ethnicity.
“The PDP is therefore willing and ready to partner like-minded individuals in other political parties and groups to sustain our democracy, ensure good governance and promote the unity and stability of our dear nation. Nigeria as a nation belongs to all of us. Its interest therefore must be put over and above personal, partisan or group interests at all times.
“In this regard, the PDP notes with gratitude, the immense contributions of the immediate past Senate President ‘the Baba of the National Assembly’, Senator David Mark, for the decency and mature manner with which he ensured the smooth take-off of the 8th National Assembly”.
The PDP had in a statement on Tuesday morning sa\id it had adopted Saraki and Dogara for the position of Senate President and Speaker respectively. It therefore urged its National assembly members to act accordingly by voting the two men.
A few minutes after the APC statement, President Muhummadu Buhari and a former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, issued separate statements commending the elections.
Buhari, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Femi Adesina, restated his earlier stance that he did not have any preferred candidates for the Senate and the House of Representatives leadership positions and that he was willing to work with whoever the lawmakers elected.
Atiku on his part congratulated the newly elected leaders. He said in a statement by his Media Office that, “Irrespective of the political mix through which the presiding officers emerged, the 8th National Assembly should never lose focus of its role as a partner in progress with other arms of government especially the executive arm”.
With conflicting signals coming from leading figures of the party, there is little doubt that the APC will be faced with some, if not most of the problems, which marked the latter days of the former ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
The party leadership is faced with the grim reality of trying to “enforce discipline” within its fold. This, in itself, is potentially a volatile road to travel if not properly handled.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Alhaji Abdullahi Jalo, expressed delight about the turn of events in the National Assembly.
According to him, the seed sown by the APC in the House of Representatives in 2011, with the election of Aminu Tambuwal as Speaker, against the wishes of the PDP has grown into a very big tree, the fruit of which the APC is now generously reaping from.
He however said, “The reality today is that we all need each other to move forward. The new Senate President will benefit from the experience of Ekweremadu who has been the DSP for eight years and vice versa. I believe Nigeria and Nigerians will be the better for it”.
How the APC resolves this and other challenges which they will definitely be confronted with in the coming days, weeks and months, will define the party’s character and future.
How Saraki emerged
The APC lawmakers had on Tuesday morning converged on the International Conference Centre in Abuja for a meeting in which they were to be addressed by Buhari.
The meeting which was called by the APC leadership was to take place at about 9am while the inauguration was scheduled to hold at 10am.
However, as of 10.56am, the lawmakers were still waiting for the President when news filtered in that the senate had been inaugurated and that Saraki had emerged unopposed as the senate President.
As if the victory of Saraki, a former Kwara State Governor, was not enough, Ekweremadu ended up beating Ndume to become the Deputy Senate President.
The notice of the meeting which was circulated partly read, “The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the federal republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, will address all Senators and House of Representatives-elect of the APC at 9am this morning, Tuesday, the 9th June at the ICC Abuja. All concerned must endeavour to attend this meeting”.
The presidential spokesman, Adesina, said the APC leadership, not Buhari, convened the botched meeting at the ICC, Abuja.
Mohammed also confirmed that it was the party that invited its lawmakers to the meeting.
The APC leaders had hoped that a pep talk from the President, who did not show up at the Tuesday morning meeting, could save the day.