The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu, on Thursday admitted that aspirants for various offices in the 10th National Assembly were not consulted before the decision on zoning was reached.
Adamu spoke at the APC national secretariat in Abuja when aggrieved aspirants for the senate presidency stormed the headquarters to vent their anger.
The APC had picked the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio (South-South), and Senator Barau Jibrin (North West) as preferred candidates for the senate presidency and deputy senate presidency of the incoming 10th assembly.
It equally anointed the member representing Zaria Federal Constituency, Tajudeen (North West), and Ben Kalu (South East) as preferred candidates for speakership and deputy respectively.
The party’s zoning arrangement came ahead of voting and inauguration of the 10th National Assembly slated for June this year.
Some party stakeholders expressed concerns that the North West has taken two presiding officers’ positions based on the current zoning, insisting the decision must be reversed so as to favour other geo-political zones for the sake of equity, fairness, and justice.
Daily Trust reports that aspirants for the position of speaker of the 10h National Assembly led by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Idris Wase, on Wednesday stormed the APC national headquarters where they held a meeting with Adamu and expressed their displeasure with the zoning arrangement.
We’ll go back to drawing board—Adamu
Addressing the aggrieved contenders for the senate presidency, comprising a former Governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu; a former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari; Senator Sani Musa (Niger), among others, who submitted a protest letter to him, Adamu said the party would go back to the drawing board and review the zoning arrangement where necessary.
The APC helmsman, however, said the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) could not take a decision on the matter without the inputs of the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, stressing that once he (Tinubu) returns to the country; there would be a meeting to review the decision on zoning.
Adamu said, “Yesterday (Wednesday) we received members of the lower chamber who are also contesting for the speakership in the lower chamber and we had similar pronouncements – words of disagreement from them.
“What we will not do today from what we have received from you is to start to open any discussion with you at this sitting.
“Yes, there were no sufficient or adequate consultations with you who are contesting, and it is a simple principle of democracy that you get views and opinions.
“But the circumstances that we found ourselves in after the elections frustrated our desire. We must as democrats open up. So, we will go back to the drawing board.
“We owe our party that duty to take a look, whether what was done cannot be changed; what was done needs some changes or reviews. We will take a look at what is necessary by the grace of God.
“Hold the fire until the last word is heard from us. We are the custodians of the party as NWC, but we are not acting alone. The voice of the president-elect is an essential voice. We must accommodate him the best we can.
“I will not compromise on that. So, he is right now outside the country, and by the grace of God when he comes back, we will go back to the drawing board and put our heads together again and see what we will get.
“I cannot preempt that, I will wait until we hold that meeting with the President-elect, the same team that we had the same meeting with. If we need to enlarge the committee, we will do, so we will better be informed through contributions that will be made.
“We will go through your memo, line by line, and ensure that we are able to capture the spirit of your presentation and see what will be the best way out of the situation we have.
“Whatever you heard is the art of human endeavour, and we are not perfect as human beings. We can make mistakes. So, if we find in the course of further consultations the mistakes that need to be looked at, we will look at them.
“The important thing is that the spirit of the party must be kept alive. We just came out of elections, and the whole country looking towards us. We are just counting down to the inauguration on the 29th of this month.”
APC must be conscious of 2027 polls – Yari
Earlier, Senator Abdulaziz Yari said the party should review the decision and right the wrongs ahead of the 2027 general elections.
He said, “Mr. Chairman, we have been in this game and we understand it very well, and it is about dialogue. We are saying that party is supreme and we are looking at the election we won in 2023 and the next election in 2027 and it depends on how we play the part.
“Mr. Chairman, we know each and every success came from God. We from this axis strongly believe that we have done our best despite the whole challenges.”
It’s unconstitutional to zone to individuals – Kalu
On his part, Senator Kalu said, “What you have done (zoning formula) does not look very nice. It is undemocratic; it is unconstitutional to put people’s names. We are going to challenge it.
“We are going to say no. I am a party man and we have never disobeyed this party, but this is the first time we are going to say no on the floor of the Senate. The party should go back to the drawing board and rezone, not by name, but by zones.
“It will not be right for our party, being a very big party, to be doing something that is unconstitutional. I believe all the 109 senators elected to have what it takes to be Senate president. There is nobody that has been elected that cannot be senate president.”
Crisis will be resolved – Umahi
Ebonyi State Governor and senator-elect, Dave Umahi, said that the crisis in the APC over consensus candidates for the 10th National Assembly leadership would be resolved soon.
He gave the assurance during the induction of senators-elect and members-elect of the incoming 10th National Assembly in Abuja yesterday.
He said: “Democracy is all about resolving all emerging controversies. The position of our party has given rise to some unavoidable controversies.
“There is no position the party would have taken that would not attract criticism or controversy. I think that the party and our leadership are very capable and full of wisdom to resolve whatever might be the differences. I am very sure they are working on it.