A group under the All Progressives Congress on Sunday called on the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the National Working Committee members to shun entreaties by ensuring that one geo-political zone does not produce two presiding officers in either of the two chambers ahead of the 10th Assembly inauguration.

The group further warned that it would be in the interest of the party to zone the presiding offices of the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker, House of Representatives and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives to different geo-political zones.

The warning is coming on the heel of a planned crucial meeting of the APC NWC on Monday to determine which regions and consensus candidates should be considered for Senate presidency, Speaker and other principal offices.

Multiple sources who spoke to our correspondent disclosed that the decision was a fallout of a closed-door meeting between the party leadership and the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Friday.

The aspirants vying for the Senate presidency include former Zamfara Governor, Abdulaziz Yari; immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godwin Akpabio: Chairman of Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Jibrin Barau and Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, who recently lost his wife, have been tipped as favourite.

Other strong contenders are the senator-elect representing Imo West, Osita Izunaso; Sani Musa (Niger East), Patrick Ndubueze (Imo North) and incumbent Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, who has been lobbying through proxies.

Those contesting for Speaker of the House of Representatives comprised Tajudeen Abass (Kaduna), Muktra Betara (Borno), Ahmed Idris Wase (Plateau), Ben Kalu (Abia) and Miriam Onuoha (Imo).

Reacting to the horse-trading and lobbying that have been taking place among the lawmakers in the last two months, the Coordinator of APC Integrity Group, Malam Dawu Mohammed, disclosed that it would be injurious for both the party and President-elect to favour one region at the expense of others if they hope to avoid a crisis in the legislative arm.

Mohammed gave the warning in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday.

According to him, events in the last week have given an indication that certain lawmakers have been favoured for the positions of Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

He said, “We have observed the horse trading going on about the presiding offices of the 10th Assembly and we consider it pertinent to advise that two presiding offices should not go to one geo-political zone. Doing so, we believe would be injurious to the unity and existence of the party.

“We, also consider it a concern that the NWC of our party had till date not been able to come up with the zoning formula. This situation had led to different interests and agitations that we are witnessing among our elected lawmakers.

“The APC Integrity Group expect that those who take lawmakers to the President-elect for endorsement should do that in the interest of the country and not because of juicy committees and other considerations. The President-elect and the party leadership should know that whatever crises come from the zoning and election of the presiding officers, they are responsible for them.

“It is our sincere view that the Deputy Senate President should be zoned to the North Central since the party is considering zoning the Speaker House of Representatives to the North West.”

“For us, what is paramount is a viable 10th National Assembly, which we believe could be achieved with proper zoning and competent leadership.

The Integrity Group members are made up of the members of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change, Action Congress of Nigeria, All Nigerian Peoples Party, and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.

The Punch Newspaper


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