The tempo of campaign for leadership positions in the 10th National Assembly has heightened ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The various aspirants strongly believe that the intensity of their campaign can get them some attention from the NWC members and other party leaders as well as other stakeholders who will decide on the APC zoning of the principal offices of the legislature.
The Nation gathered that aside working harder to convince party leaders and other stakeholders of their individual competence for the position they seek, the federal legislators are also pushing hard to ensure that the planned zoning favours them.
The NWC meeting was summoned by the party’s National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
Notice of the meeting to all the 24-member NWC was issued by the National Secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore, on Friday.
Coming on the heels of a lawsuit instituted against Adamu and Omisore by the National Vice Chairman (North West) of the party, Salihu Lukman, the meeting is expected to discuss the lawsuit as well as the zoning arrangement for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly among other issues.
All the zones of the country except the Southwest, which produced the President-elect, have aspirants gunning for the Senate presidency and the speakership.
Pressure has been mounting on the party to decide on the zoning as early as possible.
A party source spoke last night on how “most NWC members have either been visited or communicated with by many of the aspirants as we speak. Their messages are the same – zone the positions to our area; support our ambitions.
“On a daily basis, we receive many delegations which come here to give us messages on behalf of the aspirants. They come to discuss the zoning of the offices and the competence of their preferred candidates with us.
“Many other groups have sent in letters and other forms of communications soliciting on behalf of their zones or aspirants.”
It was also gathered that the leadership of the party may have succeeded in getting the commitment of newly elected members of the House of Representatives to toe party line when electing the next leaders of the NASS.
The new APC legislators, following series of deliberations with the leadership of the ruling party and other party organs, are convinced that it is in the best interest of the party for them to abide by the position of the APC leadership on the matter.
A ranking member of the House, who craved anonymity, said the new members, given their large number this time, may decide how the next leadership of the lower chamber will emerge.
He said: “The APC have many of them. Given that they are freshers in the National Assembly, it is necessary to guide them from being lured into anti-party activities by those seeking power in the House.
“The party leadership and other organs of the party did well in orientating them and it has paid off real good. They now know what to do and what not to do.
“With the opposition showing an unusual interest in the Speakership, we moved swiftly and ensured they don’t poach our unsuspecting new members. They have been duly briefed on the supremacy of the party.
“They all can also read the body language of the President-elect and they have seen that he is a democrat who is versed in party politics.
“Now that they know what anti-party activities are and how grievous such are, they won’t want to be caught doing anything of such, especially as regards the election of the leaders of the 10th National Assembly.”
One of the APC Reps-elect and former Commissioner in Ondo State, Donald Ojogo, said during the week that whoever the leadership of the APC favours for the Speaker of the House will be supported by all.
The politician elected to represent the Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency of Ondo State said there is no way the opposition will win the Speakership despite its slight advantage in the number of members.
“Our party leaders know what they are doing and they have a lot of things to consider before deciding on zoning or who should hold what position in the National Assembly,” Ojogo said on television.
He added: “The party may be searching for a Speaker who is not only competent but someone who will also fit into the programmes and policies of the APC and the incoming Tinubu administration.
“Anybody the party decides should go for the Speakership will win with nothing less than 205 votes.”
North Central govs back Sani Musa for deputy Senate President
Kwara State Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq and Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello have adopted the resolution of Senators-Elect from the North Central endorsing Niger East Senator, Sani Musa, for the position of Deputy President of the Senate.
The North Central Senators-Elect met with the governors of the zone at the Kwara State Governor’s Lodge Asokoro, Abuja on Friday night shortly after they met in the Maitama and passed a resolution to support Sani Musa’s bid. The Senators-elect were received by the two governors.
They were led to the meeting by Senator Musa, who is the Chairman of the North Central Senators-Elect Caucus.
It was further learnt that the meeting was held so that they could formally meet and familiarise with their governors who are the political leaders of their various states.
They were said to have seized the opportunity to inform the governors of their resolution during their caucus meeting to back Musa for deputy Senate President.
During the meeting, Governor Bello was said to have commended the caucus for coming together for the first time to “pursue the interest of the zone”, which he noted has “never happened before.”
Bello was said to have called on all the political actors in the zone from the local government elected officials, political appointees, serving and former State and National Assembly members to unite as one entity.
He also assured the federal lawmakers-elect that all the governors of the North Central geopolitical zone would support their aspiration to produce a presiding officer in the 10th National Assembly.
His words: “This is the appropriate time for us to unite in order to pursue a common goal so that North Central Nigeria would take its rightful place in the affairs of the country.”
Also speaking, the Kwara State Governor said: “The fact that the elected senators from our zone, irrespective of their political party affiliation, have chosen to come together to promote a common interest for the benefits of the North Central and the country, is a welcome development and highly commendable.
“We will advise the caucus to reach out to other zones with the aim of getting the required numbers and cooperation.
“All the senators-elect should also remain focused and pursue vigorously, their quest for the highest possible leadership position in the 10th Senate.
“The governors of the North Central geopolitical zone will continue to support the aspirations of Senator Musa to lead the 10th Assembly by all means possible.”
The Senators-elect hailed President-Elect Bola Tinubu for his disposition to ensure fairness and equity in the distribution of leadership positions to all the geopolitical zones.
The leader of the caucus, Senator Musa, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, appealed to the governors to continue the quest for equity for the zone.
In attendance at the meeting were Senators Musa, Isah Jibrin (Kogi East), and Sadiq Umar Suleiman (Kwara North).
Others were Senators-Elect Peter Ndalkali Jiya (Niger South), Ahmed Aliyu Wadada (Nasarawa West), Sunday Karimi (Kogi West), Udende Memsa Emmanuel (Benue North-East), Titus Tartenger Zam (Benue North West), Hon Diket Plang (Plateau Central), Mohammed Onawo (Nasarawa South), and Engr. (Dr) Abubakar Sadiku Ohere (Kogi Central), among others.
Gagdi lobbies LP Reps-elect
An aspirant for the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yusuf Adamu Gagdi , has reached out to Reps-elect from the Labour Party (LP) for their support.
Gagdi met with many LP Reps-elect in Abuja on Friday in a follow-up meeting after earlier interaction with leaders of the party across the country.
He has been consulting widely across party lines to build a national governing coalition that reflects the composition of the House of Representatives.
The latest meeting is one of the many consultative parleys being convened by the lawmaker with members of the House elected across various political parties.
The former Plateau State Deputy Speaker is one of the three candidates for the position of Speaker from the North Central zone and the second from Plateau State.
Ex NDDC boss canvasses support for South-South, Akpabio
A former Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr. Efiong Akwa, said the immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, fits the bill for the Senate Presidency.
Fielding questions from journalists in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital on Friday, Akwa said with the next president of the country coming from the Southwest, the South-South should produce the Senate President.
He said: “Since 1999, we have had a model, that where the President goes is where the Senate President goes. The South-South that produces the oil has not been part of the priority list of the government.
“We are united by this demand, appeal and request to the APC, the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the Vice President-elect, other stakeholders and Senators-elect that the position of Senate President should be zoned to the South-South.
“It is a request to the APC, the President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and all well-meaning Nigerians that the office of the Senate President should be zoned to the South-South.”
He said the South East has produced several Senate Presidents since 1999 and now it is the turn of the South-South.
His words: “Each time the Senate President comes to Southern Nigeria, it is usually micro-zoned to the South East.
“The South-East has had uninterrupted Senate President five times. His Excellency, Adolphos Wabara from Abia State; Evans Enwerem from Imo State; Chuba Okadigbo from Anambra State; Pius Anyim from Ebonyi State and Ken Nnamani from Enugu State.
“The position has been distributed to the five South-Eastern states, so, now the Senate President coming to the South cannot go to the South-West, because the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is from the South-West. The natural place, if we mean zoning, it should go to the South-South.
“What an average Nigerian is looking for now is strong institutions and not strong individuals; sustainable development goals, and we need somebody who has the pedigree and capacity to actualise that for a united Nigeria, and that person is here in the South-South.
“I am presenting Senator Godswill Akpabio for this position. Without a doubt, South-South seeks the support of all. We need to give a match to someone with the capacity to match with what the executive is doing.”