Buhari in first public meeting with Saraki since Senate President dumped APC for PDP

The two were all smiles despite months of tension between both of their parties heading into next year’s general elections.

Senate President Bukola Saraki shakes hands with President Muhammadu Buhari  (Facebook/Femi Adesina)

President Muhammadu Buhari came face-to-face with Senate President, Bukola Saraki, for the first time since July, three months after he dumped the president’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The two met during the 41st Conference and 73rd Executive Committee session of African Parliamentary Union (APU) in Abuja on Thursday, November 8, 2018.

Both leaders were all smiles as they shook hands and posed for photos before the president declared the event open with the President of ECOWAS Commission, Jeane Cloude Brou, and Chairperson APU committee, Rt. Hon. Cassama Cipriano, also present.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Senate President Muhammadu Buhari in a group photo at the 41st Conference and 73rd Executive Committee session of African Parliamentary Union (APU) in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari and Senate President Muhammadu Buhari in a group photo at the 41st Conference and 73rd Executive Committee session of African Parliamentary Union (APU) in Abuja  (Facebook/Femi Adesina)

,alleging that certain forces within the APC were bent on making the party uncomfortable for him and his associates. He noted that Buhari’s anti-corruption war was being used to target and silence some members of the legislature.

His departure back to the PDP led to weeks of war of words with the APC with the ruling party calling for his resignation as Senate President while also threatening to impeach him.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Senate President Muhammadu Buhari at the 41st Conference and 73rd Executive Committee session of African Parliamentary Union (APU) in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari and Senate President Muhammadu Buhari at the 41st Conference and 73rd Executive Committee session of African Parliamentary Union (APU) in Abuja  (Facebook/Femi Adesina)

The former Kwara governor went on to contest for the PDP’s presidential ticket to enable him contest against Buhari in the 2019 presidential election. During his campaign, he launched several attacks against President Buhari’s administration.

However, he lost the tickets to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who has been tipped to be Buhari’s biggest challenger for the presidency at next year’s polls.

Buhari begs APU to assist governments fight terrorism

In his address at the event, President Buhari urged the APU to develop strategies to assist governments to continue to fight against security challenges such as terrorism, armed banditry and organised crimes to ensure a safe continent.

He said, “Terrorism, armed banditry and organized crimes have continued to be a security challenge for member states of the African Union; the proliferation of arms aided by abuse of the ease of movement of persons across freer borders, which have been historically in place to encourage African unity, have contributed to acts of terrorism by groups like Al Shaabab, ISIS and Boko Haram.

“Here in Nigeria, we have done a lot to reverse the terror trend and halt the advancement of Boko Haram. We have in collaboration with our neighbours strengthened our armed forces to effectively confront terror groups and have also initiated programmes to address widespread poverty, which has been identified as a significant factor fueling unrest and boosting terror recruitments.

“In spite of this progress, we are not unmindful of the remaining challenge of armed invaders who ransack villages and small farming communities and commit terrible acts including the cold-blooded murder of women and children. We are also making progress in addressing this challenge.”

He also expressed hopes that the APU’s resolutions will aid the efforts of African governments in developing a more robust private sector to attract necessary investments to Africa.

“A conscious and affirmative resolve needs to be made by parliaments and governments across Africa to champion the cause of the continent and its people,” he added.

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