Ahead of the inauguration of members of the 10th National Assembly on June 13, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Thursday received President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Daily Trust reports that their meeting at the State House, Abuja, came as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had continued to ensure that the election of a new Senate president, deputy Senate president, speaker and deputy speaker of the House of Representatives followed the guidelines it set on zoning arrangements.
The party had announced the endorsement of Senator Godswill Akpabio from South South for Senate president; Senator Jibrin Barau (North West) for deputy Senate president; Tajudeen Abass (North West) for speaker, House of Representatives and Benjamin Kalu (South East), for deputy speaker.
Fielding questions after the meeting, Lawan said the emergence of new leadership would be determined by national interest and unity of National Assembly regardless of political parties.
“We are getting somewhere and my prayer is we are able to resolve all the outstanding issues by the grace of God. And Mr President is positively disposed to everything being done smoothly,” he said.
He dismissed the insinuation that he again nursed the ambition to return as the President of the Senate, adding that it was duty bound on him to help mentor new lawmakers as they constituted 70 per cent in the Senate.
On the reports that Gbajabiamila would be appointed Chief of Staff to the President, Lawan said, “I am waiting for the announcement.”
He said, “This administration should have no difficulty relating with the 10th National Assembly because all of them have passed through the National Assembly system and they know what the sentiments and the sensibilities of members of the National Assembly are.”
While fielding questions from newsmen on why his widespread appointment had not been made official amid congratulatory messages, Gbajabiamila said, “Be patient, be patient, the system works in its own way. Let’s allow the system to work.”
Presidency sources told Daily Trust that the choice of speaker Gbajabiamila was a “done deal.”
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with the president, a top aspirant for the speakership position, Abbas, said they discussed issues facing the country, including the removal of petroleum subsidy.
However, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, for the second time in 24 hours visited the Presidential Villa to brief the president.
Women demand dep. speakership, other slots
Women leaders have called for a consensus for a female lawmaker of proven integrity to be elected as the deputy speaker of the incoming 10th National Assembly.
They also demanded that women should be made to chair key committees of the House of Representatives, stressing that the diversity in the house in terms of gender was key to promoting democracy and strengthening the legislative process.
The contest for 10th National Assembly positions is intense as all the contenders are navigating their way to get victory during the June 13 voting date.
Addressing newsmen at the NICON Luxury Hotel on Thursday in Abuja, the Executive Director, Gender Technical Unit (GTU), Ekwunife Anazonwu, who spoke on behalf of Leaders of Women’s Movement in Nigeria, said being in position of influence is key to bringing women voices to the fore in the country.
The women leader demanded that “a woman be elected as the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives. At least, 2 women should be elected as main principal officers in the House of Representatives.
“It is vital for legislatures to reflect the rich tapestry of their constituents. By consciously repositioning the few elected women, legislatures can benefit from a wide range of perspectives and experiences, leading to better decision-making, fairer policies, and a stronger democracy.”
Ex-senators ask Kalu, Yari to respect party supremacy
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Non-Serving Senators Group from Second to Fourth Republics yesterday called on Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, ex-governor of Zamfara State, Abdul’Aziz Yari, and other aspirants for the position of Senate president of the incoming 10th National Assembly to respect party supremacy.
The ex-senators spoke at an enlarged meeting attended by critical stakeholders which included Chief Olusegun Osoba, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, Ambassador Godknows Igali and Archbishop John Praise, among others in Abuja.
Kalu, Yari, Osita Izunaso and others had objected to the decision of the APC’s leadership and vowed to contest against the Akpabio/Jibrin ticket on inauguration day.
Speaking at the meeting of the APC Non-Serving Senators Group, the convener, Senator Basheer Lado, called on the aspirants in opposition to the party’s choice not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
He called on them to withdraw their bids in the interest of peace, party cohesion and the smooth take-off of Tinubu’s administration.
APC stakeholders like Olusegun Osoba, Tanko Yakasai, among others who spoke at the event called on the group to reach out to senators-elect opposing the position of the party to respect the APC’s constitution and support Akpabio and Jibrin.
By Muideen Olaniyi, Saawua Terzungwe & Abdullateef Salau