By OKECHUKWU PEACE
The All Progressives Congress leadership should be blamed for the crisis rocking the National Assembly, former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso has said.
According to him, the leadership of the party probably underrated the G-5 governors in deciding on those that should vie for top positions in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
In the election for Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives as well as their deputies, party consesus candidates lost out embarrassingly.
Kwankwaso was one of five governors who defected from the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party to the APC said this in an interview with reporters in Abuja on Monday.
The other members of the group were Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Alhaji Magatakarda Wamakko (Sokoto) and Kwara State Governor Abdulfatai Ahmed.
“The leaders of APC may have underrated the members of the G-5 governors and their potential to do good or to do bad depending on the circumstances,” the former governor said.
He also explained that apart from this, some of his colleagues (ex-governors) in the Senate felt a certain party leader had had a domineering influence on the party and had also had his own fair share of positions.
These, combined with other factors, he claimed, worked against the party’s interest during the elections in the National Assembly.
Kwankwaso also expressed disappointment that the party missed some important steps that it should have taken to avoid the loss it suffered in the National Assembly.
He said, “On the issue of what went wrong with our party with regard to the crisis during the election of the National Assembly leadership, I think so many things went wrong prominent of which has to do with time.
“The election was something that has relationship with time and we know very well that we had so many weeks to prepare ourselves for the elections in the legislative chambers.
“I wished time was really taken to ensure that we had a successful election.
“Although this is not the time to begin to trade blames, many of us had drawn the attention of our leaders to do the right thing at the right time. Sometimes, you might decide to do the right thing at the wrong time that will certainly back- fire.”
He also noted that the APC missed the opportunity of resolving the issues probably because most of the people involved were facing such challenges for the first time in their political history.
Recounting his experience on the day of the inaugural sitting of the 8th National Assembly, he said he was receiving a group of supporters from Kano when he got a call that the election for the Senate leadership had commenced.
According to him, he quickly got into his car and asked his driver to head to the National Assembly complex instead of the International Conference Centre which he had in mind.
He further explained that on getting to the Senate, he saw that elections had been concluded and that Bukola Saraki was being sworn in.
Kwankwaso confirmed that he got a text message from some party officials informing him of the meeting with Buhari at the ICC, noting that the message did not emanate directly from the President.
He expressed disappointment that the situation had polarised the party but said it was not too late to repair the damage and forge ahead.
Kwankwaso said, “I think the party is unfortunately divided but it is not too late to correct things. The party should take steps to correct things and to ensure that the crisis is quickly put behind it.”
He also disclosed that he had advised Saraki not to pursue his ambition to be Senate President but he refused.
Kwankwaso said the decision of the pro-Saraki APC Senators to reach an alliance with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party was a romance taken too far.
He said that the APC should look at the situation and come up with ways to redeem it.