Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and his Deputy, Yusuf Lasun, were absent at the 6th National Executive Council, NEC, meeting of the All Progressives Congress, APC, currently going on at the party’s secretariat in Abuja.
National Chairman of the ruling party, Adams Oshiomhole, informed the NEC members that Dogara and Lasun sent in letters apologising for their inability to make it to the meeting.
The two are currently the highest ranking members of the party in the legislature, following the decision of the Senate President Bukola Saraki to dump the party to join the opposition. Saraki’s deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, is a member of the PDP.
Although the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, related their apologies to the meeting, party watchers note that Dogara and Lasun are among top party leaders who have, at one point or another, voiced their displeasure with the happenings within the party.
Lasun was particularly unhappy with the direct method adopted for the Osun Governorship Primary, which he participated in and lost.
The APC NEC is expected to announce a decision as to whether this system will be adopted for subsequent primaries.
Before the meeting went into a closed-door session, Oshiomhole stated that Senator Ahmed Lawan, who is the Senate Majority Leader, will act as the Senate President. Senate President Bukola Saraki had weeks ago defected from the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
He stated this while observing protocols, saying, “Senate President, well in the absence of the Senate President, the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawal can stand in.”
The former Labour leader also gave account of his stewardship in the last two months in office.
He said under his leadership, the party recorded victories at the Ekiti gubernatorial election, including the bye-elections that took place in Bauchi and Katsina.
Oshiomhole however appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to show more commitment in addressing genuine grievances that may have spurred some members of the party to defect.
President Mohammadu Buhari urged the party leaders to conduct free, fair and credible primaries across the country. He said this should be done in accordance with the Electoral Act and party constitution.
He also urged them to ensure that critical decisions to be reached at the NEC meeting were in the interest of the party.
On the defection of some APC members to other political parties, the President Buhari said their exit was not enough to upset the party.
He stressed that the defection merely made a dent in the party, particularly in the National Assembly as the APC remains in control.