Senate President, Bukola Saraki has given explanations s to why Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) emerged as Deputy Senate President in a chamber populated by All Progressive Congress (APC) senators.
Speaking to newsmen at a press conference in Abuja on Saturday, June 27, 2015, Saraki said Ekweremadu retained his seat because many of the APC senators were absent at the sitting owing to the fact that they had converged at the International Conference Center to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Saraki also addressed rumours that he entered an alliance with the PDP to gain victory. He said that he had talked to most of the senators of his ambition, adding that the PDP had adopted him without holding any meeting with him.
He said: “It is unfortunate that we have a PDP man as deputy senate president. It is painful for every APC member because that was not what we signed for when we went through the struggle.
“It is not fair to put the blame on one side because it is a combination of errors and miscalculations that led us to have, that morning, some senators were at another place instead of being there.
“Never in our wildest imagination did we envisage that some senators would not be present on the day of the inauguration.
“First of all, the PDP senators had announced to the public that they were supporting me without even meeting me because, in their own meeting, majority had decided to vote for me.
“In my own view, and, in the view of some of those who worked closely with me, I worked hard for my election. I had direct contact with every single senator, one on one; weeks leading to the election, I did not rely on anybody. I worked hard; both in our party, the APC and out of it.
“I approached every senator, I talked to them, we built confidence, not only in the APC, but, also, in the PDP. I talked to them. That was why I laughed when people said I had a deal with Ekweremadu or I had a hand in the emergence of Ekweremadu.
“Across party lines, that day they believed in me and that this is the senate president that can lead us, there was no deal.
“I didn’t need any deal to win. I had penetrated, there was no deal; I didn’t need any deal in the first place. I had worked hard such that everybody who was a Senator, I campaigned hard and canvassed for their votes and won their confidence.
“With regards to the deputy, when they told us that they had a candidate, we, too, told them we had a candidate for deputy senate president in the person of Senator Ali Ndume!
“After our own meeting, it was our thinking that it was after the election of the senate president that the two groups in APC would meet and we would agree on a candidate. We never in our imagination thought they would not turn up. By the time we got there, we were only 24 while the PDP was more than 40.
“I wonder how some of our colleagues found themselves at the ICC. If it had been a case that the clerk of the national assembly had made an announcement and the event had been postponed or it was no longer holding, plus, the invitation, I’m sure some are asking now, what really happened?”