Senate President Bukola Saraki has struck a deal with senators of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to stop moves to remove him from office, TheCable understands.
Saraki defected to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in July and since then he has been under pressure to resign.
Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the APC, said Saraki would be removed “according to the law and democratic norms”.
When the senate reconvened from its over 10-week recess on Tuesday it was expected that there would be a rowdy session but they had a closed-door meeting where a peace accord was struck.
TheCable had reported that the senators agreed to put aside their differences and opt for peace rather than removing Saraki from office.
But senate insiders told TheCable on Friday that conditions were given to the senate president by the APC senators.
The sources said Saraki was asked to ensure the confirmation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees and passage of pending bills sent by the executive.
COMPROMISE ON PENDING BILLS
“After the adjournment he started moving round senators to seek their support but they gave him (Saraki) conditions to make sure all outstanding bills are passed as sent by President Muhammadu Buhari and to confirm pending nominees,” the source said.
“You will note that the INEC budget was passed as originally sent despite adjustment by the committee.”
Since Buhari assumed office in 2015, he has sent 12 bills to the national assembly.
Of the 12 bills, five have been passed: mutual legal assistance in criminal matters between Nigeria and other foreign countries; mutual assistance in criminal matters bill; chartered institute of directors of Nigeria bill; national centre for disease control and prevention bill; chartered institute of forensic and investigative auditors in Nigeria bill and the Nigeria natural medicine development Agency bill.
The bills pending are: communications service tax bill, national lottery act (amendment) bill, federal institute of industrial research bill, raw materials research and development council (repeal and reenactment) bill and the national water resources bill.
Deliberation on the water resources bill was suspended after the senators failed to agree on it.
The money laundering prevention and prohibition bill was withdrawn by the executive following a disagreement between Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), and Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Some of the pending confirmation of the president’s appointees are Olanipekun Olukorede as secretary of EFCC; 13 commissioners for the federal civil service commission; and Festus Keyamo into the board of Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) among others.
‘NATIONAL ISSUES FIRST’
On Friday, senate leader, Ahmed Lawan, told reporters that members decided to attend to urgent national issues after resumption.
He spoke after observing the Juma’at prayers at the Aso Rock mosque.
“The national assembly will continue to remain focused on national issues. We must be patriotic, we must be nationalistic and we must put the national interest above individual and parochial or partisan interest,” he said.
“We definitely had to bury our hatchets for us to work for Nigeria and Nigerians therefore perhaps that might have informed the disappointment of many people that there is no crisis in the national assembly.”
Since the senate returned from its recess on Tuesday, the electoral act amendment bill has passed second reading – just within two days.
On Wednesday, Suleiman Nazif, chairman of the senate committee on INEC, said all the issues Buhari raised were considered. The third reading of the bill is slated for Tuesday. The bill generated a heated debate among Nigerians after it was rejected by Buhari thrice.
The upper legislative chamber has also confirmed 20 commissioners for the National Population Commission (NPC) and Folashodun Shonubi, a deputy governor nominee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
It is also working to confirm the nominees for the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). The senate had suspended the confirmation of nominees following the refusal of the executive to replace Magu.
Also on Thursday, the senators passed the N189 billion budget for the 2019 polls – the exact figure requested by the president.