By David Olalekan
As subtle moves continue in the process leading to the emergence of the leadership of the 9th Assembly, the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, has revealed that it was not bothered by the underground manoeuvering of the outgoing leadership to influence the outcome.
The National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Lanre Issa-Onilu said the party was not threatened by the influence of Saraki and Dogara as “both men would soon become irrelevant in the scheme of things as far as the National Assembly is concerned.”
He said, “I will advise we stop talking about Dr Saraki as far as the Ninth National Assembly is concerned.
“By the time President Muhammadu Buhari will be inaugurating the Ninth National Assembly, Saraki would have become a former member. So, he is to us irrelevant to this discussion.
“Dogara would be a floor member and of the opposition party, so he has no role to play in deciding who rules for the majority.”
INSIDER learnt that the APC is not leaving any stone unturned this time around to avoid a repeat of the 2015 scenario when presiding officers of both Chambers of the National Assembly emerged against the wishes of their party at the time. The party is said to be taking precautions to ensure that both the outgoing Senate President Saraki and his counterpart in the House of Representatives do not influence the choice of principal officers for the ninth Assembly.
Already, APC, as part of its strategies, has reportedly convened several meetings in recent time between its preferred candidates in both Chambers and members-elect in order to foster understanding and checkmate any possible grievances. One of such meetings was at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari himself who, unlike in 2015, has chosen to show more than a passing interest in the process leading to the emergence of the principal officers of the national assembly this time.
A member of the National Working Committee of APC who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity said his party would do all within its powers to frustrate any plots Saraki and Dogara might be hatching to upset the emergence of its preferred candidates.
It would be recalled that a couple of weeks ago, during a meeting in the presidential villa, the APC leadership had endorsed Senator Ahmed Lawan and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as its preferred candidates for the Senate President and Speakership positions respectively.