2019: Saraki weighs options as PDP, APC mount pressure


Holds close door meetings with Oshiomhole, in Abuja, Govs Wike, Tambuwal, Ortom, others in Ilorin

By Adebayo Olodon and Mumini AbdulKareem

The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki is presently comparing notes before making his next political move regarding his 2019 ambition, National Pilot, has learnt.

The development is coming just as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have stepped up pressure to win Saraki’s support as next year’s election approaches.

Although the former Kwara State governor has not officially announced his defection from the APC, media reports have suggested he is set to join the opposition party following the shabby treatment he suffered in the hands of the ruling party despite his enormous contributions to its victory in the 2015 election.

Last week, apparently in a move to persuade the Senate President from dumping the APC, its National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, held a closed-door meeting with Saraki at his Abuja residence, Monday night.

The nocturnal meeting which a top source privy to the issue confirmed to this medium lasted several hours with the party chairman making a passionate appeal to Saraki not to leave the ruling party.

According to the source, the former Edo State governor reportedly left the meeting dejected after he was unable to convince the Senate President to remain in the ruling party.

But speaking with this medium last night, one of Saraki’s media aides who also confirmed the meeting between the duo, said Oshiomhole has consistently paid visits to Saraki since his emergence in an effort to persuade him.

 “Yes, it is true that the Senate President and Chairman of the National Assembly, Dr Bukola Saraki and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole met over the crisis in the party.

“The meeting which lasted some hours took place Monday night at the residence of the Senate President.

“It was in continuation of further rounds of talks which followed the numerous ones Oshiomhole has held since he came on board to persuade Saraki to remain in the ruling party.

“Although I cannot confirm whether the Senate President finally agreed to the plea of the party chairman, the meeting held on Monday is not likely to be the last of such dialogues,” the aide who spoke on the issue based on the condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to make official comment stated.

Meanwhile, yesterday, in Ilorin, the Senate President held high powered close meeting with major opposition figures in the country, some aggrieved governors and members of the APC.

Although the details of the meeting were not made public, it was learnt that it centred on the current political situation in the country.

Those at the meeting which took place in Saraki’s country home, GRA, Ilorin, shortly after the dignitaries attended a prayer session for the late mother of Abubakar Kawu Baraje,     included Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, his Sokoto State compatriot, Aminu Tambuwawal and Samuel Ortom of Beue State.

Others are the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, APC National Vice Chairman South and former governor of Ekiti State, Niyi Adebayo, Senator Barnabas Gemade, among others.

Speaking with newsmen at the airport shortly after his departure, Wike maintained that the gathering was meant to honour Baraje over his mother’s death adding that “we also used the opportunity to compare political notes on the happenings in the country.”

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