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Defection: Buhari, Osinbajo meet Saraki -Yari, Amosun, Masari, Bagudu, Fayemi in attendance -We never gave Ortom red card – APC By Patrick Andrew, Abdullahi M. Gulloma, Abujaand Daniel Agbo, Makurdi President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday held a closed-door meeting with Senate President, Bukola Saraki and four All Progressives Congress governors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The meeting, which came barely 24 hours after the leading lights of the Reformed All Progressives Congress (rAPC) – a splinter group from the ruling party, had in attendance Chairman, Governors Forum and Governor of Zamfara state, Abdulaziz Yari, Governors Aminu Masari of Katsina state, Atiku Baguda of Kebbi state, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state, and the Governor-elect of Ekiti state, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and was held at the President’s office. Though the agenda of the meeting that lasted for about 30 minutes was not made public, sources privy to the parley said it might not be unconnected with the realignment of political forces ostensibly to oust the APC-led government in 2019. The Ilorin meet The meeting came some 24 hours after some Peoples Democratic Party’s bigwigs also had secret talk with Saraki in Ilorin. At the meeting were Governor Nyeson Wike of Port Harcourt, PDP presidential aspirant, Sule Lamido, the party’s national chairman, Uche Secondus, Governor Waziri Tambuwal and his Benue counterpart, Samuel Ortom, host, Abdulfattah Ahmed of Kwara state, all of the ruling APC, as well as the leader of the nPDP, Abubakar Kawu Baraje. The governors were in Ilorin to commiserate with Baraje on the loss of his mother. Although Saraki kept mum after the Villa meeting yesterday, sources hinted that “the meeting was designed to woo him, especially after the Ilorin meeting with some PDP big wigs. Certainly, the Presidency will be doing itself a disfavour if it failed to invite Saraki for a truce. “As things stand, everything appears to be in favour of the Senate President. For one, who from his day one of ascending that office, it has been one onslaught or the other. But with the Supreme Court judgement which vindicated Saraki on his CCT trial, the APC is left with no option than to curry him for support. “You might also wish to know that in the last one week, the APC chairman had been having nocturnal meetings with the Senate President all targeted at making him have a change of mind on his speculated exit from the ruling party. So, the Villa meeting was not any different. “Don’t forget that the formation of rAPC, which fused into other parties to form the Coalition of United People Parties, is a major deadly move by the Senate President. And when you marry this with the call by his home state to lead them out of the APC, then one can safely conclude that the heat has been turned on the ruling party, ” added the source who pleaded anonymity. Buhari meets loyalists in Reps Meanwhile, President Buhari, yesterday went into another round of meeting with members of the Parliamentary Support Group, comprising of his supporters in the House of Representatives. The parley was ongoing in the Villa as at the time of going to the press. The group is being led by Kano lawmaker, Abdulmumin Jibrin. Those attending the meeting apart from the lawmakers include the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari; Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. Ortom’s red card claim In a related development, the Benue state chapter of the APC has debunked the governor Ortom’s claim that it gave him a red card. Rather, the party said it only demanded good governance from the governor. Ortom had on Monday, while performing the swearing-in of his Special Adviser on local government and chieftaincy affairs, said the APC had given him a red card. Refuting this however in a statement, the party’s Director of Publicity, Apeh Peterhot on behalf of the state chairman, Abba Yaro, stated that the party did not at any point give a red card to the governor or any other member of the party. He said the party at the last state congress in Makurdi, endorsed the governor and leader of the party in the state, Senator (Dr.) George Akume for another term in office. The statement read in part: “We are grossly embarrassed that these issues raised with the governor in confidence for the purpose of repositioning governance to better the lot of Benue people and position the party on the path of victory ahead of the 2019 general elections, is been juxtaposed and treated unclad without regard to the code of secrecy on which premise we laid our demands for better governance. “It is however disheartening that the governor, apparently trying to shy away from accountability and to portray the party in bad light before the unsuspecting members of the public, resorted to public show over the matter that should have been treated and resolved internally. “This is surely not how to reciprocate the blind trust, respect, honour and confidence reposed on Samuel Ortom when he joined the party and was made its flag bearer within 24 hours after coming a distant third (3rd position) in the then PDP primaries. “While urging our teaming stakeholders, supporters and fans to remain calm in the face of this turn of event in our political history, we wish to restate our commitment to the ideas of good governance which encompasses transparency, accountability, justice, mutual respect and fairness which we do not only preach but have made integral part of our party, the APC.” According to him, the endorsement of the governor and leader of the party was meant to further unite the party and provide a stable political atmosphere for the duo to deliver better dividends of democracy to the people of the state.

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