The emergence of the National Assembly principal officers has caused a split in the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress.
The development was sequel to the decision of the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, who faulted the process that led the selection of the principal officers.
As part of the efforts to resolve the crisis, Adamu alongside the National Secretary of the party, Iyiola Omisore, met Tinubu on Wednesday.
The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio had on Tuesday announced Senator Opeyemi Bamidele as the Majority Leader; Senator Dave Umahi ( Ebonyi South) as Deputy Majority Leader; Ali Ndume (Borno South) as Chief Whip, and Lola Ashiru (Kwara South) as the Deputy Whip.
He also named Plateau North lawmaker, Mwadkwon Davou as Minority Leader while Osun West lawmaker, Kamorudeen Olarere (PDP Osun West) emerged as the Deputy Minority Leader.
Also, Darlington Nwokeocha, (LP Abia Central) was named Minority Whip while Rufai Hanga (NNPP Kano Central) was the Deputy Minority Whip.
Abbas on the other announced Julius Ihonvbere, the lawmaker representing Owan East/Owan West of Edo as the Majority Leader and Abdullahi Halims representing Ankpa/Omala/Olamaboro of Kogi as the Deputy Majority Leader.
Abbas equally announced Bello Kumo representing Akko federal constituency of Gombe as the Chief Whip and Adewunmi Onanuga representing Ikenne/Sagamu/Remo North federal constituency in Ogun, as the Deputy Chief Whip.
Ali Isa of the PDP was named the Minority Whip, while George Ebizimawo of Labour Party was announced as deputy minority whip.
But displeased with the process, Adamu told a meeting of the NWC members and APC governors the ruling party was not involved in the emergence of the officers.
He said, “The national headquarters of the party of the NWC has not given any such information or communicated about the choice of offices. Until we formally resolve and communicate with them in writing which is the norm and practice, it is not our intention to break away from traditions.
“So, whatever announcement is done either the President of the Senate, Deputy Senate President, Speaker or Deputy Speaker, is not from this secretariat.
Adamu and Omisore arrived at the Aso Rock Villa a few minutes before 5pm, and were ushered into the President’s office shortly afterwards.
However, three key members of the NWC expressed their displeasure over the chairman’s stance in an off-record chat with selected journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.
Among other things, they distanced themselves from the former Nasarawa governor’s position that the APC had not endorsed the election of the majority leaders, deputy majority leaders, chief whip and deputy chief whip for the two chambers.
“That was the national chairman’s personal opinion, not the party’s position. After all, didn’t the emergence of the two chambers of National Assembly leaders receive the blessing of Mr President?” one of the committee members said.
They also explained that some governors, who bared their minds on the issue, also cautioned Adamu and further urged him to reach out to the National Assembly leadership to resolve the matter amicably.
Another NWC member expressed concern that it would appear the national chairman had made up his mind not to work in the interest of the President as his action “consistently’ negates virtually his government strives to achieve.’’
He stated, “It is really getting out of hand and there is an urgent need to call him to order. Many of us were not happy with what he said because it wasn’t discussed in our meeting with the governors. It was his personal view and not the position of the NWC.
“And we wonder why Adamu is consistently doing this. The party took a position on the National Assembly but the national chairman keeps talking about having ‘further and better consultations’ at every point. Am I saying anything different? Did you media people not report it? That amounts to rebellion and insubordination to the party.
“In fact, we understand both Akpabio and Abbas went all the way to Keffi to brief him long before he made that statement. I also heard Governor Hope Uzodinma said the governors are standing with the NASS and would seek means to resolve the friction.
But the truth is that there is nothing to resolve. The point is that the president is fully in the know and consented. The national chairman and the governors were also briefed. These are the stakeholders of the party for crying out loud.
“We, therefore, distance ourselves and the NWC from such actions that clearly undermine the smooth take off of the APC federal government under the leadership of President Asiwaju and call on the National Chairman to desist from such action,” he stated.
The third aggrieved member of the committee also told journalists that he suspected most of Adamu’s actions were always deliberate in order to pass a subtle message.
“For instance, while he was speaking, we noticed that the Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, Senator Hope Uzodinma was trying to signal him to stop and leave the matter for the closed door session but Adamu still went ahead to say his mind. When it was Uzodinma’s turn to speak, he sounded conciliatory and appealed to Adamu to try and ensure that there was no crisis.
“Bago, on the other hand, was very direct. He told Adamu that it was wrong of him to have spoken the way he spoke and that the principal officers of the National Assembly emerged after wide consultations with relevant stakeholders. Yobe state Governor, Mai Mala Buni also observed that stakeholders of the party were all working at cross-purposes. In fact, he expressed concerns that even the NWC appeared constantly divided. He therefore pleaded with Adamu to seal all cracks and ensure that everyone was on the same page”, he noted.
An ally of the APC national chairman, who preferred to be anonymous, disclosed that Adamu’s statement was largely misconstrued.
While arguing that the matter was blown out of proportion by a section of the media, he explained that dealing with Adamu demands tact.
He added, “Adamu is an administrator, a former legislator, minister and was a two-term governor. People who have passed that threshold always adhere so much to bureaucracy hence anything that is not communicated to you formally in writing, you consider it has not done.
“A lawyer and administrator will tell you there was no information or action unless he has officially communicated by writing. That was the spirit with which the chairman spoke yesterday because the information was not officially communicated to the party. By tradition and culture, this is an action that ought to be carried out by the party.’’
“Adamu has disowned NASS leaders.” That’s not true. He didn’t disown anything. He neither confirmed or denied when he said it has been conveyed officially to him,” he stated.
A source, however, ruled out any threat of sanction or punitive measures on Akpabio and Abbas.
The Deputy National Organising Secretary of the party, Nze Chidi Duru, declined to comment on the matter because he was indisposed.
He said, “Besides, I didn’t attend the meeting of NWC with the APC governors.”