Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki; Senate Chief Whip, Prof. Sola Adeyeye, and former governor of Zamfara State, Sani Yerima, were absent as the Senate caucus of All Progressives Congress, APC, paid a solidarity visit on President Muhammadu Buhari at the First Lady Conference Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja, Wednesday night.
This is even as one of the senators that announced his defection to Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Tuesday, Lanre Tejuosho, made a surprise return to APC, telling the President "your son is back."
His statement drew cheers from his colleagues and the President.
President Buhari jokingly replied to Tejuosho: "What would I have told Kabiyesi?"
The meeting started about 10pm when the President arrived. Although about 53 APC senators were expected at the meeting, only 42 showed up. It was gathered that some of pro-Saraki senators also attended the meeting.
The APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole; Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Ita Enang; Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, were also present.
Roll Call of the Senators present at the meeting:
2.Bala Ibn Na-Allah
14.Baba Kaka Garbai
Senators pledge loyalty to Buhari
Meanwhile, the senators said they met with the President to assure him of their loyalty, adding that they also informed him that the APC still had clear majority in both chambers of the National Assembly.
Speaking with State House correspondents after the meeting, Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, said: "We have come to pay a courtesy call on Mr President, our leader, and we informed him of what happened yesterday (Tuesday) at the Senate and, indeed, the National Assembly."
Lawan also said they told Buhari that some of their colleagues left the ruling party to join various political parties such as PDP, ADC and APGA.
"We informed Mr President of how we stand in the Senate. As at today, the Senate APC Caucus is 53 in number, followed by the other minority parties.
"The PDP is the largest minority party with 48 senators and then the ADC with two senators, APGA has two senators and we have two vacant seats, which were occupied by APC senators who are late now," he said.
Why I recanted--Shehu Sani
In his remarks, the senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, who is one of the aggrieved senators yet to defect, said he attended the meeting in his capacity as a member of the APC caucus of the Senate.
"My presence here does not mean that my issues have been solved 100 per cent. But I am of the belief that we have a leader in the party who is doing everything possible to see that the problems that we have are solved."
He said he revolted because he found it necessary to do so, noting: "Revolt at times is necessary. In fact, APC is a reflection of a revolt, it revolted against a system of iniquity, injustice, and today it is in power.
"So, I am here because I believe in the leadership of the party, I believe also in the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and I am also of the belief that there is no issue that we cannot solve as human beings, as men of conscience and conviction."
On his part, APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, said he was delighted about the meeting with the President.
According to Oshiomhole, APC has 53 senators out of 107, saying in the next couple of weeks, two more senators will be added to the list after by elections are held in Bauchi and Katsina states.
He said: "The good thing about this meeting is that the senators have come in huge numbers to prove what the Senate leader earlier said, that APC remains the party with the largest number of senators in the Senate."
Speaking specifically about the defection of some senators, Oshiomhole said many of them were victims of misinformation.
"But like everything that is not based on truth, overtime the truth emerges and people who are victims of disinformation retrace their steps; which is why a senator from Ogun (Mr Tejuoso) has returned to the fold and I am sure more and more, who left out of confusion and who were misled, I am sure will come back," he said.