Barring any unforeseen developments, President Muhammadu Buhari would run for re-election as a consensus candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), according to Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Sulaimon Lasun Yusuf.
Lasun stated this while fielding questions from journalists during a press briefing by the All Progressives Congress (APC) House caucus in Abuja.
Lasun also disclosed that the National Assembly was set to reconvene on Tuesday next week to consider issues surrounding the supplementary budget, as well as approval of funds for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to enable it to prepare for the elections.
The caucus called for an urgent and thorough investigation into the invasion of the legislature by armed men from the Department of State Services (DSS) on Tuesday.
Rising from a caucus meeting which lasted for over three hours on Thursday, the caucus also lamented the partisan dimension which what it described as the “unfortunate” invasion has taken.
Lasun, apparently referring to the posturing by the Abdulmumin Jibrin-led ‘Parliament Support Group’, a pro-Buhari group in the House of Reps, insisted that “nobody, no matter the group he/she belongs to, can say that they like and support President Buhari more that the APC caucus, adding that “the caucus remains one united body”.
He continued: “Before the march into 2015, I was already campaigning for Buhari in 2014, and the party’s national leadership and all its organs have agreed in principle that the president will be our consensus candidate in 2019.
“Mark my words, I said in principle. And when the time for primaries reaches for candidates to be elected, we are all going to adopt President Buhari as a consensus candidate of the APC, so let nobody come to deceive anyone that they love the president or Nigeria more than some of us.”
While reacting to questions as to when the National Assembly would return from its ongoing annual recess to consider requests put forward by President Muhammadu Buhari, Lasun said the National Assembly would reconvene by Tuesday, next week, adding that any extension wouldn’t go beyond Wednesday.
“First, let me make one thing very clear that we are on a lawful break. We didn’t just adjourn in order to run away from our duties, but went on recess at the time we normally have our annual recess.
“But based on the president’s request and the meeting we held with INEC chairman on Wednesday, we are convinced on the need to reconvene and address them,” he said.
On the DSS invasion of the National Assembly, House leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, who led the media briefing, condemned the development, saying that no democrat should in good conscience condone the illegal operation by DSS operatives.
According to Gbajabiamila, “We are aware of what happened here a few days ago when the institution of National Assembly was shut down by men of the DSS.
“Since then, there have been lots of spins with stories in the media as to whether it was orchestrated by people from our party or not.
“But we stand here today to condemn the unfortunate assault on our democracy and constitution, and coming here, we would have loved to have our PDP colleagues here with us, because in 2014 when a similar thing occurred, our PDP colleagues stood by us, and so we would have loved to stand shoulder to shoulder with them, but unfortunately, this thing has taken a partisan colouration.
“But, in order to unravel the truth behind the ugly incident, we, the APC House caucus, are hereby calling for an urgent and a thorough investigation into the matter, and we want to appeal to our PDP colleagues not to use this to malign the party or the president as he knew nothing about this – which was why he summarily fired the DSS boss.”