Thursday, 28th September 2023

NASS leadership: Tinubu defers zoning decision after May 29

By Muyiwa Adeyemi (Politics Editor) and Adamu Abuh (Abuja)
04 May 2023   |   4:14 am
• Adamu: We’re working on consensus arrangement, consulting with Tinubu • Lukman to withdraw suit against Adamu, Omisore • APC can’t determine who becomes Speaker, says LP Reps-elect Ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly in June, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has said it will work with the President-elect, Bola Tinubu,…


• Adamu: We’re working on consensus arrangement, consulting with Tinubu
• Lukman to withdraw suit against Adamu, Omisore
• APC can’t determine who becomes Speaker, says LP Reps-elect

Ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly in June, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has said it will work with the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, to come up with an acceptable consensus arrangement for the leadership of the assembly.
National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, disclosed this after a troubleshooting meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) in Abuja, yesterday.

According to him, APC cannot take a final stand on the thorny issue of zoning of seats of principal officers of the National Assembly without the input of the President-elect. He, however, said there is no cause for alarm as the party is still consulting with Tinubu on the matter.
Briefing journalists, he said: “The outcome of our four-hour meeting is that we came out more formidable and united than anything.
“On the issue of zoning, that is not what today’s meeting was all about. When we do the zoning meeting and we don’t just go alone as a party; zoning will take into consideration the person who has the mandate of this country, the president-elect. We want to take him along. He travelled after the elections and he came back only last week and we have to carry him along.
“We cannot stop those who are ambitious or projecting zoning interest, or individual interest, we cannot deny them and as long as that is there, we have to find a way, persuasively, to reach some level of consensus. That is what we are working on. It is not a one-day affair. ”
However, for anxious politicians waiting for the zoning template of the leadership of the National Assembly by the ruling party, they might have to wait till after the inauguration of the President-elect on May 29.
Sources close to the inner caucus of the party told The Guardian, yesterday, that there are pressures on the President-elect not to be in a hurry in taking decisions about zoning of the leadership of the National Assembly because of the intrigues ongoing among politicians from different geopolitical zones in the country.
It was gathered that the simmering internal crisis in the APC and counter-reactions from contending zones that might lose out in the power game may affect the May 29 inauguration and distract Tinubu from focusing on the tasks ahead of him.
The source said: “I can assure you that the President-elect has what it takes to resolve the matter and make all zones happy but it is better for him to take the decision on zoning after his inauguration. There is a wide gap of difference between a President-elect and a President.”
When reminded that the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari did the same thing by not taking decisions on zoning of leadership of the National Assembly until his inauguration in 2015, in which the party eventually lost out after the emergence of Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as Senate President and Deputy Senate President respectively, the source said: “We have taken this into consideration. The issue of zoning will be resolved before the constitution of the 10th National Assembly by the President or the Clerk of the House.”
However, the House of Representatives member-elect for AMAC/Bwari Federal constituency in Abuja, Joshua Chinedu Obika, has said APC cannot determine who becomes the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.

In an interview with newsmen yesterday, Obika, who was elected on the platform of the Labour Party (LP), said the opposition members would unite to make the 10th National Assembly a robust one.
The opposition parties, comprising Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), LP, African Democratic Congress (ADC) and others have the majority in the House of Representatives with 180 members, while the ruling APC has 178.

Two seats are pending – one in Akwa Ibom and another in Ondo states.
He said: “APC does not have what it takes to determine who becomes Speaker of the 10th National Assembly because they are in the minority in the silent majority in the House.
“The number of members from the minority has surpassed that of the APC as a political party, and the majority takes it. APC can still take the position of Speaker but that can only be determined by all of us, not by the APC as a party, because Nigerians are yearning for change.
“The 10th Assembly is made up of many political parties’ representatives: We have the APC, PDP, LP, SDP, NNPP, ADC and Accord Party. That shows that Nigerians are dissatisfied with the two dominant parties and as of today, they are in the silent majority; they cannot do much. If APC zones the leadership of the House of Representatives, they will lose it.”

IN a related development, National Vice Chairman, Northeast of APC, Salihu Mustapha, said the aggrieved National Vice Chairman, Northwest of the party, Salihu Lukman, has agreed to withdraw the suit he instituted against Adamu and National Secretary of the party, Senator Iyiola Omisore.

He said: “We are here to intimate you of the proceedings we had after the NWC meeting and we had intimate consultations with our brother, Lukman on issues you are aware of, like the legal action and some other publications credited to him and we can reach the resolution that this suit is going to be withdrawn and unconditionally, he has rendered his apology for any seeming embarrassment this his suit and publications may have caused.

“We want to affirm the fact that we are one indivisible committee that we would continue to work together and also try to see that we achieve all the aspirations of an ideal working committee or the ideal party.
“We will resolve through the instrumentality of the party because parties are not run on the pages of Newspapers, nor are they run on the screens of television but they are being run administratively and we will continue to do that as one house.
“Also, we want to reiterate the fact that this party will not condone indiscipline where one or two people of one organ that is not qualified will just sit and say they have suspended or expelled one of our members. A case study of what happened in the South-south. This party will not tolerate it and we are looking into investigating the matter. We will ensure that we bring to book individuals or organs that brought this kind of irregularities without following our constitution”.
On his part, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Felix Morka, said the meetings was all about ‘house keeping” and that the party stands united behind Adamu and Omisore.
“The party stands completely united behind the leadership of the national chairman. And we are all standing together. For our colleague who has concerns, those concerns are being looked into. In due course, we will have reasons to explain the very specific conclusions of these discussions.”