Ahead of next month’s inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, there are indications that two governors and a sitting principal officer deliberately arm-twisted the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to zone and micro-zone leadership positions in the Senate and the House of Representatives to their preferred candidates.
On Monday, May 8, rising from an NWC meeting, APC National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, told the media that the party zoned the office of the new Senate President to the South South (Senator Godswill Akpabio), deputy to the North West (Senator Barau Jibrin), the new Speaker to North West (Tajudeen Abbas) and deputy to South East (Benjamin Kalu).
Saturday Sun gathered in Abuja, yesterday, that the governors played a role in getting their candidates nominated for the positions“perhaps to compensate for their efforts before during and after the presidential election. The principal officer, who may likely not come back to the chamber, also played a significant role in influencing the list of the proposed principal officers for the House of Representatives. He ensured only his candidates were considered.
“For instance, when it came to the deputy speaker position, during several meetings convened to consider a southern candidate for the position, there were pleas that the South East should be considered.
“When that plea scaled through, based on the principle of inclusion, the principal officer insisted it must come from a particular state and a particular member. This same principal officer made sure other qualified aspirants from the South East were not considered. In fact, it got to a level when it became personal, whipped up bogus academic qualifications for his candidate and derided the status of any other candidate who was being considered for the deputy speaker position.
“The arguments became so heated that he was accused of favouring a particular candidate from the South East for the position so as to jettison the chances of Senator Orji Kalu from contesting the leadership position in the 10th Senate.”
Saturday Sun also gathered that, although the APC has promised to address agitations against the zoning and micro-zoning of the leadership positions, four members of the speakership aspirants in the House of Representatives, known as G7, have vowed to “take matters into our hands on Inauguration Day. If the party refuses to review the zoning of leadership positions in the House, in a way and manner that is acceptable to members, they should be prepared for a re-enactment§ of the ‘Dogara and Tambuwal’ scenario.”
Meanwhile, against the backdrop of dissent from leadership aspirants in both chambers, a highly-placed party source disclosed that the APC National Working Committee (NWC) met this week “to review the rejected zoning formula, having taken the protests into consideration and they are coming up with a new report. The report would be reviewed by party leaders before it would be released.”
Asked when the report would be ready, he simply replied: “All I know is that the NWC has met on the protests from those aspiring to leadership positions in the Senate and the House of Reps. They met this week and have reviewed the zoning list they released earlier. You know the President-elect is not in the country. But I can assure you that the report would be ready and presented to him when he returns. It is only after that has been agreed upon that all the aspirants would be invited and they would know the new zoning arrangement before it is released to the public.