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President Wades Into Bauchi, Edo Assemblies’ Crises

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President Muhammadu Buhari has announced his resolve to work with the relevant constitutional bodies to end the crises rocking the Houses of Assembly in Bauchi and Edo States.

Buhari said that he was aware of the problems in Edo and Bauchi States, adding that “I try to appreciate my position as the president, the political situation vis-a-vis the constitution of our country, the role of the commissioners of police and the party.  I always like to be on the side of the constitution.”

He, therefore, promised to liaise with the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice when sworn in, and the inspector-general of police (IGP), to ensure that the rights of the constituencies and individuals were not abused in any form.

The president’s position was contained in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by his media aide, Mr. Femi Adesina. Buhari spoke when members of the Bauchi State House of Assembly and other stakeholders in the state visited him at the presidential villa, Abuja.

Buhari urged the members not to give up their rights and the rights of those who elected them, as well as not to compromise on their individual integrity so as not to divide the Assembly and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He further advised them to stay firm, bearing in mind their responsibilities to their constituencies and always keep the party in the state and at the centre informed.

The party members led by APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, had briefed the president on events leading to the crisis in the state legislature.

After the meeting, the stakeholders told State House correspondents that they visited Buhari at the instance of the party to brief him on what happened in the Bauchi Assembly “since the purported inauguration, which as you are all aware two leaderships emerged. Primarily, he (the president) was fully briefed directly from us.”

Also yesterday, Buhari assured members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) that he would be more conscious of the interest of the party in taking key decisions.

Receiving members of the party’s NWC at the State House in Abuja, the president said: “It is obvious that the success of the party was more paramount in your hearts. You could have deployed the times and energy you deployed for the party for your personal use.

‘‘I respect the sacrifices you are making; you can only derive satisfaction if you are working for your country and all our people because, materially, nobody can pay you for the sacrifices,” he said.

According to a statement issued by Adesina, the president pledged to uphold party supremacy and commended Oshiomhole, and other members for their sacrifices and the overall success in the last general elections in the country.

Buhari used the visit to appeal to the NWC members to abide by the constitution of the party, adding that, “it is not enough to just criticise certain decisions of the party without first understanding what the constitution says.”

The president assured the NWC that competent members with the requisite experience would be invited to contribute their quota to nation-building as heads and chairmen of boards of parastatals and agencies.

Earlier, Oshiomhole congratulated Buhari on his electoral victory and noted that the NWC was meeting with him exclusively for the first time after the elections.

He also acknowledged that while it was regrettable that the APC lost some states, the greatest victory of the APC was in Kwara and Gombe States.

Oshiomhole said that there is a financial report detailed all collections by the party in respect of the February presidential election and how the monies were spent. but declined to give details of the monies received by the party.

The APC boss told correspondents jocularly that as non-card carrying members of the ruling party, they were not entitled to know anything about its finances.

Oshiomhole stated that they impressed on the president the need to establish Progressives Institute in order to teach party men and women on the ideals of the APC.

The APC boss also disclosed that the meeting created an opportunity for them to raise issues on the need to restore the middle class in the country so as to stabilise the polity.

He said “We have had a couple of meetings with Mr. President since his re-election but an exclusive meeting between members of the NWC and the president and vice president had not taken place.

“So, this is the first one and it was natural that we congratulate him but also to remind ourselves that this renewed mandate is a call to duty and there is a lot to be done to deliver to the people of Nigeria. The party, the executive, the National Assembly, all of us working together, sharing ideas, we are much more likely to make faster progress and those are the sort of things we discussed,” he said.

On the call for revolution by the Global Coalition for Security and Democracy, and the clampdown on anti-government protesters last Monday, Oshiomhole affirmed that Nigerians have the right to protest but must properly articulate their grievances.

He, therefore, condemned the convener of the Coalition, Omoyele Sowore, for spearheading the protests after failing to win the February 23, 2019 presidential election.

“What was the reason for the protest? Let’s be honest! I have led a series of protest even to this villa. Whoever wants to protest should articulate the particulars of his grievances and make specific demands about the solutions that he wants.

“So, what exactly as far as you know as members of the fourth estate of the realm, did Sowore, the publisher of Sahara Reporters, a presidential candidate, cleared by INEC to bid for power, who had opportunity to ask Nigerians to vote for him, want?

“Now Nigerians have voted, the votes have been counted and he was not a favoured candidate; what does he want now? That Nigerians must make him the president? Because we all have to be careful, nobody should talk as if we have another country,” Oshiomhole warned.

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