Buhari, Tinubu, Atiku Meet NASS Over Senate President, Speaker Seats
AHEAD of Tuesday’s inauguration of the 8th National Assembly, leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are billed to meet with both the newly and returning members of the National Assembly today.
President Muhammadu Buhari, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu and the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun are among chieftains of the party billed to attend the parley holding at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
The Guardian gathered that the parley is aimed at keeping the peace among National Assembly members who are split over the choice of their respective candidates.
While Messers Femi Gbajabiamila and Yakubu Dogara are slugging it out for the seat of the House of Representatives Speaker, Senators Bukola Saraki and Ahmed Lawan are neck deep in the squabble for the Senate Presidency seat.
Meanwhile, the campaigns for the Senate Presidency recorded a twist yesterday as the Senators backing the election of Senator Bukola Saraki publicly challenged those on the side of Senator Ahmed Lawan to publish the names of senators in their camp.
In the House of Representatives, the camp of one of the leading contenders, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, is believed to enjoy 90 per cent of support in North East and North West, the two zones that delivered the highest votes in the last presidential election, and is sure of victory.
With his overwhelming support in the South West and North Central, Hon. Gbajabiamila seems to be coasting home for victory in grand style.
It was gathered that of the 48 members from the North East, 40 members had so far pledged loyalty to the Gbajabiamila camp.
The source said that most of the members from the North West are strongly behind the Lagos born politician, who recently stepped up his charm offensive with a view to consolidating the supports.
“As I am talking to you, majority of members from the North East have already endorsed Mr. Femi. There are only few who are still sitting on the fence. We expect them too to join soon as we are working very hard on this.
“His emergence as our next Speaker is just a matter of formality as we are very sure we have the number,” he explained.
Findings, however, show that last minute scheming has put Gbajabiamila in the pole position as many members of the PDP have shown support to the cause.
The permutations are firmly in favour of his candidacy as the majority of caucuses from the North West, North East and North Central are with him even as he is confident of getting bloc vote from his stronghold, the South West.
The Saraki Campaign group under the aegis of “Senators Of Like Minds” in a statement signed by their spokesmen, Senators Dino Malaye (Kogi State) and Ahmed Sani Yerima (Zamfara State) cautioned against any attempt to impose a candidate on Senators, adding that such attempt would enthrone a regime of instability in the Senate.
The statement noted that experience, merit and acceptability should be the main considerations for determination of the next Senate President.
The group also lamented that the leadership of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) had not been able to conduct a primary election to pick it’s candidate for the nation’s number three position.
Tagged “Senate Presidency: Senators of Like Minds: Our Position”, the statement reads: “In view of the controversy on the numbers of the senators supporting Senator Bukola Saraki and Ahmed Lawan for the Senate presidency of the 8th Senate, we challenge them in the same manner to publicly exhibit the names and signatories they claim that consist of their supports in the Senate.
We equally urge them to consolidate it further by submitting the names of the senators that have passed a resolution endorsing Ahmed Lawan as the next Senate President as we, the Senators of the Like Minds, did when we submitted the names and signatures of the 34 senators endorsing Senator Saraki on May 24, 2015, as the next Senate President.”