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NASS leadership: Rejections trail APC’s zoning arrangement

    By Itodo Daniel Sule, Balarabe Alkassim, Saawua Terzungwe, Abbas Jimoh, Idowu Isamotu (Abuja) & Tosin Tope (Akure)   The All Progressives Congress (APC)…



By Itodo Daniel Sule, Balarabe Alkassim, Saawua Terzungwe, Abbas Jimoh, Idowu Isamotu (Abuja) & Tosin Tope (Akure)


The All Progressives Congress (APC) zoning arrangement for leadership positions in the coming National Assembly has continued to generate sharp reactions from stakeholders, including aspirants.

The party, on Monday, released its zoning template for the presiding officers’ seats with Senators Godswill Akpabio (South-South) and Barau Jibrin (North West) picked as preferred candidates for senate president and deputy senate president respectively.

In the House of Representatives, the party endorsed Tajudeen Abbas from the North West as the speaker and Benjamin Kalu from the South East as deputy.

However, other aspirants, their supporters, lawmakers-elect from different geo-political zones, and a governor have rejected the zoning arrangement, which they said favoured one zone against the others.


Aggrieved G-7 aspirants demand reversal

Seven aspirants for the speaker’s seat yesterday formed an alliance tagged G-7 to express their rejection of the zoning template.

The members of the group are Hon Yusuf Gagdi; Hon Mukhtar Aliyu Betara; Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives,  Hon Ahmed Idris Wase; House of Representatives Majority Leader, Hon Alhassan Doguwa; Hon Sada Soli; Hon Mariam Onuoha and Hon Aminu Sani Jaji.

Rising from a meeting with the APC NWC members at the APC national secretariat in Abuja on Wednesday, the G-7 vowed to oppose any attempt by outside forces to impose a leadership on the House.

They described the zoning arrangement as unjust, unfair, and inequitable, adding that it was unacceptable.

Gagdi, while addressing the APC chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, emphasised that the proposed arrangement by the NWC was wrong because the National Assembly was an independent body that could not be turned into the presidency’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) where people were picked at will.

He said: “It is not late; let the wrongs be righted. Unless this is done, sir, our party should not hope that our loyalty will be guaranteed at the detriment of justice, peace, and fairness.

“We will respect justice, unity, and equity in the chamber, but only if your instruction is in line with the principle of this party. Sir, do not hope that we have come here to succumb to any instruction and directive given to us.’’

Reacting, Adamu said: “I plead with you in good conscience to give us a little time to take a good and better look at your presentation and open our ears and our eyes to hear and see more before we can come with the finality of your submission and the outcome of it.”


Template reinforces injustice – Akeredolu

Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, yesterday rejected the zoning arrangement for the leadership positions of the National Assembly announced by the ruling APC.

Akeredolu, who doubles as the chairman of the South West Governors Forum (SGF), described the zoning arrangement as a skewed one that reinforced injustice and enhanced inequity.

The governor, in a statement he personally signed, specifically wondered why a political zone would be favoured with two slots at the instance of others in the “permutation” carried out by the ruling party.

Akeredolu said the intentions and motives of the zoning formula already represented early signs of steps aimed to tackle the hard-earned presidency seat for Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The statement reads in part: “It is trite to aver that it stands logic on the head that one geo-political zone, North West in this regard, will be favoured with two presiding officers’ positions out of four while the North Central suffers the consequences for its innocence and shrewd loyalty by having none.”

Akeredolu advised the speakership aspirants to continue in their rejection, resentment, and objection to the “brazenly teleguided zoning arrangement” that was skewed and targeted against some zones and identified individuals.

The governor also advised the APC NWC to immediately summon the National Executive Committee (NEC) after a robust national caucus/stakeholders parley to agree on terms that would strengthen the party.

Similarly, some APC stakeholders yesterday faulted the choice of Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu for House of Representatives speaker and deputy respectively.

They said they were worried that the party might lose the seats to the opposition because the candidates were unpopular among lawmakers.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Wednesday under the aegis of the APC Critical Stakeholders Forum, its National Coordinator, Yusuf Msheliza Gwamna, advised that if the party must meddle in the House of Representatives politics, it must consider acceptability, credibility, and capacity to woo opposition members to the side of the ruling party in order to have a stable leadership after the inauguration.


Tajuddeen, Kalu meet S/East members-elect, others

The APC consensus candidates for speaker and deputy speaker’s positions in the incoming 10th House of Representatives, Abbas Tajuddeen and Benjamin Kalu, yesterday, met with some members-elect and outgoing members of the house from the South East.

The meeting held in Abuja was part of the consultations with members-elect ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly which will also usher in a new leadership that will steer its affairs in the next four years.

Abbas said the meeting was part of ongoing efforts to seek the support of both outgoing and incoming lawmakers from the South East in advancing the One Nigeria mantra and the Joint Task-10th Assembly’s vision of inclusivity and cohesion.

Kalu said the need for unity and strength of the incoming 10th House of Representatives lay in the commitment and willingness of its members to make all necessary sacrifices.


How Tinubu will ensure victory for Abbas, Akpabio – Aminu

The Grassroots Mobilisation for Asiwaju (GMA) has assured that the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, would ensure Senator Godswill Akpabio and Hon Tajudeen Abbas emerged as senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives respectively despite opposition to their endorsement.

The National President of the group, Comrade Aminu Aminu, while addressing newsmen yesterday in Abuja, said, “There is no need to doubt the capacity of Asiwaju Tinubu to ensure the will of the party is supreme and that the party’s anointed candidates for the positions in the person of Senator Godswill Akpabio as senate president and Hon Abbas Tajudeen as speaker of the House of Representatives will emerge at the end of the day. He (Tinubu) has started working with even the opposition lawmakers to ensure this becomes a done deal.”

He also urged the national leadership of the APC and the president-elect to consider appointing experienced, detribalised, incorruptible, patriotic citizens that had Nigeria at heart to propel the country to greatness in positions.

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