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A political coup d?etat was executed by the minority Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the National Assembly on Tuesday. The democratic putsch left the majority All Progressives Congress (APC) stunned.

The PDP, which had been Nigeria?s ruling party for 16 years before power was wrested from its hands at the last general elections, not only determined the President of the Senate and the House of Representatives Speaker, but also had one of its members, Ike Ekweremadu, as Deputy Speaker.The open cracks in the walls of the APC in the hot contest for Senate President and Speaker, provided a potent weapon for the PDP to bounce back to reckoning.While Senator Bukola Saraki emerged Senate President, Hon. Yakubu Dogara was elected Speaker. Although both of them belong to the governing APC, they were not the candidates of the party.President Muhammadu Buhari said he had wished that the offices were filled by the choices of his party, but declared the process through which the elections were held as constitutional.A top chieftain of the party and former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku hosted Saraki shortly after the controversial election and expressed support for the new National Assembly leadership.

The APC is however livid. It described the decision of the APC members to go against its choice and to team up with the PDP as treacherous and vowed to not only sanction the indicted persons but also explore all legal means to redress the development.Saraki rode on sheer gimmickry and overwhelming support from PDP Senators to emerge as the Senate President.Ekweremadu (Enugu) retained his seat as Deputy Senate President after trouncing his challenger, Senator Muhammed Ali Ndume (Borno) State with overwhelming votes.?A top official of APC confided in Daily Times that Saraki was able to muster overwhelming support to emerge as Senate because of the tacit endorsement he enjoyed from President Buhari.?According to reports, elders of APC had conceded the post of Senate President to Saraki shortly after the party won the Presidential election.Saraki is in possession of a written agreement to that effect.A deft political move by Saraki with the alliance he struck with Ekweremadu on the basis that the Deputy President from the PDP camp would be made to retain his seat, also facilitated the his victory.

While the Lawan group was banking on the party leadership for support, Saraki was consolidating his grip on the PDP.?The last-minute reconciliation he had with former Senate President, David Mark by which the PDP voted overwhelmingly in his support was also part of what gave him the edge.?The turn of events in the Senate from implications has re-positioned the PDP, which lost the last Presidential election since the affairs of the Senate, is expected to be run by both the Saraki faction of the APC and the PDP Senators?Saraki, a single nominee during voting session, emerged unopposed with support from 57 Senators, shortly after the Clerk of the National Assembly Salihu Mai Kaswa pronounced the 8th?Session of the Senate open on the order of President Buhari in line with the constitution.??The expected open contest between him and the candidate of the APC, Senator Ahmed Lawan did not take place, as supporters of Lawan stayed away from the Senate Chamber on account of meeting with President Buhari who was said to have summoned them.?The absence of pro-Lawan Senators enabled supporters of Senator Saraki and PDP Senators to fuse and give the former Senate Committee Chairman on Environment and Ecology a glaring opportunity as he earned the votes of all the Senators in attendance.

Meanwhile, the supposed meeting between President Buhari at the International Conference Centre, Abuja never held as previously announced.?Security operatives had cordoned off the entrances to the National Assembly earlier in the day, while they frantically prevented visitors from entering on account that the sitting of the legislators might not hold after all.?However, by the time Senators from the Lawan group returned to the Senate Chambers, Saraki had already assumed duty as the new Senate President, just as election of the Deputy Senate President commenced immediately.?A Senator who was hitherto in support of Ahmed Lawan, Senator Binta Masi Garba said member of his Unity Forum group had no option than to accept Saraki as elected Senate President.?She described the scenarios that played out before and during the election as politics, contending that since Saraki was deemed to have emerged unopposed with close to 75 support from Senators, there should be no need contesting his emergence.

The Senator from Adamawa said what had happened would further unite the APC, as she urged? the leadership to take the outcome of the election by embracing Saraki as the new Senate President.Lawmakers in the House of Representatives, elected Dogara as speaker, defeating the anointed candidate of the party, FemiGbajabiamila.The new speaker, who is from Bauchi State, trounced Gbajabiamila from Lagos State with eight votes to emerge as the winner in a keenly contested election that lasted for more than three
hours.?Dogara polled 182 votes as against the 174 scored by his opponent out of the total of 358 votes cast in the election while twovotes were voided.

The emergence of the new speaker was against all permutations as Rep. Gbajabiamila was favoured to clinch the position with ease having received the nod of the APC at the weekend.However, all the calculations flew out the window as the 125 PDP lawmakers in the House turned the table by voting for Dogara and thwarting the ambition of Gbajabiamila to lead the House.

Dogara?s election as speaker is a repetition of the election in 2011 of former Speaker of the House, Rep. Aminu Tambuwal, now governor of Sokoto State.Before Tambuwal was elected then as speaker of the House in the seventh National Assembly, the then ruling PDP had zoned the post to the South West geo-political zone of the country with Rep. Mulikat Adeola-Akande tipped for the position. But, some PDP lawmakers acting in concert with opposition lawmakers breached the zoning arrangement and defied the party?s hierarchy by electing Tambuwal from the North-West geo-political as speaker.An indication that a major upset was in the offing emerged early in the day, after news filtered into the House that Senator Bukola Saraki had been elected as senate president, in place of the APC?s anointed candidate, Senator Ahmed Lawan.When Rep. Gbajabiamila sauntered into the House chamber at 11.03a.m, he received a muted reception.

In contrast, when Rep. Dogara came into the chamber at 11.11a.m, the whole atmosphere became charged with his supporters chanting his name repeatedly.Shouts of ?Dogara, Dogara? rent the air, just as the supporters of Rep. Gbajabiamila responded with chants of their own by shouting ?sai Gbaja, sai Gbaja? and ?winner oh, oh, winner, Gbaja, you don win oh, winner?.

The election of presiding officers in the House of Representatives was conducted by the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikaisuwa, who was assisted by the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Ben Efeturi and Clerk of the House, Mr. Atoba Omolori.While Speaker Dogara was nominated by Rep. Jibrin Abdulmumini from Kano state, his rival was nominated by a lawmaker from Bauchi state, Rep. Mohammed Sani Abdul.

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