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NASS leadership: PDP, Labour Party, Other Opposition Parties Move Against APC zoning

The lawmakers-elect, it was gathered, are working to support aspirants outside the ones APC endorsed.



NASS leadership: PDP, Labour Party, Other Opposition Parties Move Against APC zoning




A major shocker is brewing for the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the zoning of offices for the incoming 10th National Assembly, with the opposition political parties out to ensure the ruling party does not have its way, News Week Nigeria reports.



Impeccable sources revealed that senators-elect and House of Representatives members-elect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP, the Labour Party (LP), the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), the Young Peoples Party (YPP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and Social Democratic Party (SDP) are working together to torpedo the APC zoning arrangement.



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The lawmakers-elect, it was gathered, are working to support aspirants outside the ones APC endorsed.


Earlier in the week, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), in defiance of public outcry, had micro-zoned the four leadership positions in the incoming 10th National Assembly to individuals.



While Godswill Akpabio was named the consensus candidate for the position of the President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin was picked as the anointed Deputy President of the Senate.


In the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abass was named by the Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee (NWC) of APC as the consensus candidate for the position of the Speaker.


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Also, Benjamin Kalu from Abia State got the endorsement of the party for the position of the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.



In a move reminiscent of what happened in 2015, when Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara emerged as President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively, Saturday Sun gathered that members-elect in the opposition parties are plotting to have a huge say in who occupies the leadership seats in the Senate.


Senators-elect from the South East, last Sunday, rejected plans by the APC to ignore the geopolitical zone for the position of the President of the Senate.



Similarly, senators-elect and governors from the North Central have also rejected the zoning arrangements, especially the exclusion of the geopolitical zone by the ruling APC.

NASS leadership: PDP, Labour Party, Other Opposition Parties Move Against APC zoning
Labour Party and PDP


A senator from the opposition party, who is supporting one of the aspirants, told Saturday Sun that the Senators-elect from the opposition parties would not allow the APC to impose unpopular candidates on the Senate.


He said if the party goes ahead with its plans, lawmakers would be left with no choice than to vote based on the current realities in the country.



He informed that with the number of opposition Senators-elect, it would be easy to work with one accord and influence the choice of the next Senate President.


“APC seems to forget that they do not have the number to unilaterally pick the Senate President. Now that the party is planning to impose unpopular candidates on us, we in the opposition will definitely not allow that. We will work with patriotic APC Senators who are not comfortable with the shenanigans going on to choose a proper, popular Senator-elect as Senate President,” he stated.


He said that with 50 senators-elect working together, what is needed is just five APC Senators-elect with national outlook to stop the ruling party from imposing an unpopular leadership on the Senate.


Other senators-elect running for positions in the Senate Presidency are Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, Osita Izunaso, Abdulaziz Yari, and Musa Sani.


Just like in the Senate, Reps-elect from the opposition parties have rejected the APC zoning formula.


In the House of Representatives, the move to scuttle the APC consensus arrangement, Saturday Sun gathered, is spearheaded by the G7, a coalition of Speakership aspirants opposed to Abass’ endorsement by the APC leadership.


The G7 include the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase; House leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; chairman, House Committee on Appropriations, Muktar Betara; and chairman, House Committee on Navy Yusuf Gagdi. Others are Sada Soli, Mariam Onuoha and Aminu Jaji.


In the aftermath of the APC announcement, Wase, Ado-Doguwa and Betara had faulted the decision, with the Deputy Speaker describing it as an attempt by external forces to hijack the parliament.



The aggrieved aspirants have also led a protest to the APC headquarters, calling for a review of the party’s decision on zoning of presiding officers position in the 10th House.


Similarly, the endorsement of Abass and Kalu have continued to generate tension within and outside the Parliament, with stakeholders condemning the consensus arrangement.


A member-elect on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Adamawa State, James Barka, told Saturday Sun that it is unfortunate that the APC is playing games with who becomes the next Speaker of the House.


Barka said: “It is unfortunate that APC is playing this game. I don’t know why they should anoint a speaker for the National Assembly. Where is our independence? That is the question I ask. If they should anoint a speaker for us, that is unfortunate. Even the people in APC are not happy.”


Also, an APC lawmaker-elect from Akwa Ibom State, Clement Jimbo, in an interview, stated that “of course you know it is one thing for the party to zone presiding officers to individuals or zone. But it is left for membes-elect to take the ultimate decision by voting who they wish or desire to be their leaders.”


Saturday Sun gathered that most of the aspirants feel betrayed by the speaker, Femi Gbjabimiala, especially as some of them have jettisoned their own ambition and backed Gbajabiamila against Umar Bago, in the 2019 speakership contest.



Wase and Betara had withdrawn from the Speakership race in order for Gbajabiamila to emerge.


Consequently, a source close to one of the aggrieved aspirants said they would stop at nothing to ensure that Abass does not emerge as Speaker of the 10th House.


According to the source, the aspirants are exploring the possibility of a consensus candidate among them, in which case, they will rally round whoever they perceive to be more acceptable to the lawmakers-elect.




He added that they are also exploring the possibility of collaborating with members of the opposition, especially those who are averse to the ruling party choosing the leadership for the House.


“We are not likely going to see all of them contesting. They will eventually settle for one person. But it is not clear who it will be. For now, every one of them is doing a formal declaration. At the right time, a decision will be taken on who will be their own consensus candidate,” the source stated.


Similarly, News Week Nigeria, also gathered that the crisis in the APC has given impetus to the Greater Majority, a coalition of members-elect from all the minority parties that won election into the parliament in the last general election, in their quest to influence the choice of the next speaker. The Greater Majority, earlier in the week, had set up an 11-man committee to shop for a suitable candidate for the positions of speaker and deputy speaker of the 10th assembly, from among its rank.


The convener of the Greater Majority, Fred Agbedi, in an interview, yesterday, stated that “for us in the minority, we have spoken to the world that we are the greater majority because we have more number than the party in power, to that extent, we are also putting our candidates for the position of the presiding officers. And so at the end of the day on June 13, a Speaker is going to emerge. Whether he emerges from the greater majority or from the party in government, we shall see.” When Saturday Sun sought to know whether there is likely going to be a collaboration between the Greater Majority and the aggrieved speakership aspirants, Agbedi said: “I think you are in the right direction.”


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