NASS presiding officers: Horse-trading may accomodate North-Central

There is possibility of the All Progressives Congress (APC) reviewing the zoning arrangement ratified by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).

The zoning template which was  arrived at by the APC National caucus with Tinubu, the two presiding officers of the National Assembly and the APC national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu in attendance has been a subject of intense rancour since the formal  announcement by the party national leadership.

The zoning/consensus deal has Senators Godswill Akpabio and Barau Jubrin as candidates for Senate and deputy Senate president, respectively. The duo gives a South-South/North-West deal for the Red Chamber while Honourables Tajudeen Abbas (Zaria Federal Constituency)  and Benjamin Kalu, Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State offers a North-West/South- East zoning arrangement.

Multiple sources revealed to the Nigerian Tribune that  there are moves to trade Senator Barau, (Kano West) and chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation with the senator representing Niger East, Sani Musa to placate the North Central geo-political zone.

Governors of the north- central zone met in Abuja last week where they issued a resolution expressing worry over the zoning template which left them politically stranded in the post-Muhammadu Buhari presidency while the North-West is being given the slots of deputy Senate president and speaker, House of Representatives in persons of Barau Jubrin and Tajudeen Abbas.

Apart from Sani Musa, other contenders from the North-Central for positions of presiding officers of the 10th National Assembly from the North-Central are the sitting deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Honourable Idris Wase, and Yusuf Gagdi.

Incidentally, both lawmakers seeking the exalted seat of speaker  of the House of Representatives are from north-central State of Plateau.

Both equally belong to the G-6, the coalition of six aggrieved aspirants for the seat of speaker.


APC not foreclosing shocker from Yari camp

Further investigation revealed that the APC is not foreclosing the looming threat to its zoning  deal coming  from the camps of  aggrieved aspirants in both chambers of parliament, particularly from the senator-elect from Zamfara West, Abdul Aziz Yari, and Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu.

At a meeting of the South- West caucus of the House of Representatives held on Monday night in Abuja, it was resolved that in the event of Senator Yari winning the race for Senate presidency, the zoning arrangement would be altered to allow Professor Julius Ihonvbere, representing Owan East/ West Federal Constituency of Edo State,  (South-South) to be nominated on the floor of the Green Chamber for election as speaker of the House of Representatives.

The source argued: “ The power brokers  backing Tajudeen Abbas from North- West don’t want to leave anything to chance. They know that giving North- Central the ticket of deputy Senate president could strain the existing deal, and Yari could create a major upset.

“In order to prevent a situation where North-West would pick Senate President and speaker, Professor Ihonvbere is their plan B to settle South-South with office of speaker.”


You aren’t speaker yet, Adamu tells Abbas, insists on further consultations

National chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, has cautioned the endorsed candidate, Tajudeen Abbas not to be carried away by his endorsement.

Adamu gave the admonition on Tuesday when the aspirant came to meet the national leadership of the party.

Checks revealed that the elected lawmakers of the House of Representatives who followed Abbas and Benjamin Kalu to the APC national secretriat were members of the APC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Labour Party.

However, Adamu advised Abbas not to be misled by the number of lawmakers associating with him openly as he could be deceived to assume that he already had the majority on his side.

The APC national chairman insisted on further consultations ahead of the June 13 date.

Adamu said: ”I  want to make one correction so that we will not be misrepresented. A number of you have referred to Honourable  Abbas as the speaker. Please, please,  he is one of the aspirants. He will become a speaker on the day of proclamation and the laws guiding that office are very clear.

“Abbas will earn  that on the day of proclamation by the President and Commander -in- Chief. The Clerk to the National Assembly will conduct election. There is no option than the election. When he comes out of that election and they raise his hand and when he is sworn in as the speaker, that nomenclature becomes most appropriate.

“I urge you to continue with your consultations. After reporting to the NWC the discussions we had with the president-elect and leaders like the vice president-elect, the Senate President, the Speaker,  my humble self as the national chairman of the party, my deputy north, deputy south and the national Secretary of the party, I reported our deliberations.

“It was clear in our declaration that there is need for further and better consultations, so that we can go safely to the labour room and deliver safely. We need safe delivery of the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly.”

Earlier in his remark, Abbas who thanked the APC NWC for ratifying his endorsement, pleaded with the party national secretriat to also appeal to aggrieved aspirants to withdraw from the race and offer their support.

He said, “I want to thank the NWC for the role you (NWC) played in the emergence of myself and my colleague as the candidate of the party for the June 13 election of the leadership of the House of Representatives. We want to thank you and we want to impress on you that you have chosen the right people.

“We  will do everything humanly possible to protect the interest of the party, to protect the interest of the government and to protect the interest of the Nigerian populace. You can take it to the market Mr. Chairman that we are at together.

“I want to urge you and members of the NWC that if tomorrow you have done one leg of your job,that is the endorsement of the people that will represent the party in the next dispensation.

“The next is to come all out, to support, to encourage, to convince every member who has a vote to come and vote  for your candidate come June 13.

“Finally, Mr. chairman, I also want to urge you as our leader – the leader of all the contestants both in the Senate and in the House of Representatives, we are all your children, we want to urge you to use the position God has given you and all the members of NWC to do whatever you can to call all our co-contestants to the table. We are more than willing to at least sit  down and agree on mutual basis what we need to do to move the National Assembly forward.”


Wike restates support for Akpabio-Barau-ticket

In another development, Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike has restated his support for the Senators Godswill Akpabio — Barau Jibrin ticket for leadership of the 10th Senate.

Wike made the declaration on Tuesday when he met members of the Stability Group who paid him a visit .

The Rivers State Governor who recalled Senator Akpabio support for him when he was aspiring to be governor noted that it was time to repay the good gesture of the two time Akwa-Ibom state governor.

“This is the time for me to support him because he supported me when I wanted to be the governor of River State.”

Also reacting to opposition trailing the endorsement of the APC zoning template even within its own ranks, the Rivers State governor noted that it was the prerogative of the ruling party to pick the leadership of the National Assembly.

He maintained that he would give the needed support to ensure the victory of Senator Akpabio on June 13.

He said: “If truly we want this country to move forward from where we are today, I see nothing wrong in the ruling party picking who it thinks can work with the President-elect as the Senate President of the 10th Assembly. On this Akpabio and Barau project we are together to make sure they win”.

“Akpabio supported me during my governorship ambition. He stood by me all through and ensured that I won. I don’t pay back good with evil. This is pay back time for him. I will stand by him until he emerges the next Senate President. Our team would soon meet to take a position on your aspiration.

“Don’t be worried or disturbed with the contending forces against your aspiration,  it is normal in politics. Power is not given on a platter, you fight for it. I am impressed that despite your endorsement by your party and the President-elect, you are still consulting your colleagues. That is the way it should be.

“Let us be fair to this country. If we continue this way, Nigeria will not succeed. Don’t waiver stay firm and you will win at the end of the day,” he stressed.

In his response, the Senate Presidential hopeful, Senator Godswill Akpabio  thanked Governor Wike for his support for his aspiration to emerge the next Senate President, saying, “let me congratulate you for ending your tenure as the governor of River State on the high. You have done well for your people and Nigerians. History would be kind to you as you exit office in the next few days. You believe in justice, equity and fairness and that is what Nigerians know you for.

Earlier, the DG of the group, Senator Ali Ndume, had described Governor Wike as a man of his words and very reliable. According to him, “Governor Wike was the first to buy into the Akpabio/ Barau project. Wike is a reliable individual that is always committed to his promises. We need your support at this crucial time because you are very influential in the PDP, “ he declared.




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