President Goodluck Jonathan along with members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday succumbed to pressure from PDP senators protesting their losses at the November 1 ward congresses of the party by agreeing to give automatic tickets to two incumbent senators from each state at the 2015 polls.
The decision was a swift reaction to a week boycott of plenary sessions by the Senate and simultaneous declaration of solidarity for the defection of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, from PDP to APC on October 28 with a threat to team up with the House to impeach the president if that became an option to explore.
However, in a swift response to the Senate’s action and their level of bitterness over alleged moves by governors to unseat them next year, Jonathan along with NWC members of PDP met with the aggrieved senators at the First Lady’s House in the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday night where it was agreed that at least two senators would be given return tickets to the Senate.
Although the meeting was initially scheduled for Wednesday at 10 pm in the Presidential Villa, it was re-scheduled to Thursday following the president’s trip to Ouagadougou, the Burkinafaso’s capital.
The meeting which held between 9 pm and 12am ended with the senators beaming with smiles and dropping their grievances at the Villa.
One of the senators who did not want to be named, disclosed that the resolve to return at least two senators from each state was read by National Chairman of PDP, Adamu Mu’azu, at the end of the meeting.
According to him, the matter was treated as a family affair adding that the governors in that family affair’s spirit had equally agreed to respect the resolution.
“We have just come back from the Villa. The party has capitulated to governors. It was agreed that two senators per state at a minimum would return. The party chairman announced it at the end of the meeting. The party said the governors had agreed to it. It was a family affair resolution,” the senator said.
Having been placated, the senators who came under fire for the better part of last week from Nigerians who were angry with their decision to shut down a national institution because of their alleged selfish objectives are expected to resume full legislation which they had crippled for one week.
The senators had last week alleged betrayal by the president whom they said they had maximally supported prior to his emergence as Acting President on February 9, 2009 up to this last weekend.
The height of their bitterness towards the President was the decision to shut down the Senate throughout the week, throwing out all items on the Order Paper and vowing to sustain the trend indefinitely until the President addressed their grievances.
While Tuesday’s plenary was put off till Wednesday, the situation grew worse the following day as the Senate did not only shut down the chamber but also adjourned plenary to November 11.
While claiming that Jonathan had lost the Senate’s strong support like the case in the House of Representatives, the aggrieved senators also threatened to frustrate the consideration and prompt passage of the 2015 budget, insisting that they would also shut down the entire government in pursuit of their personal goals.