Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and Senator Ahmed Lawan
President Muhammadu Buhari has mobilised the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors behind the party’s candidates for Senate president and @House Speaker.
He has asked the governors to work for the emergence of Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila as Senate President and House of Representatives Speaker in the Ninth National Assembly.
The governors are expected to meet with the National Assembly members-elect to smoothen the way for Lawan’s and Gbajabiamila’s election at the inauguration of the Senate and the House in June. They are to push for unity and consensus in the emergence of Lawan and Gbajabiamila.
In line with the President ‘s directive, APC governors in the Southwest will tomorrow meet with the House of Representatives members-elect in Abuja.
It was gathered that the President and the APC opted for zonal consultations to ensure a rancour-free inauguration and to block the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from hijacking Assembly the leadership.
It was also learnt that the six geopolitical zones may use the opportunity to agree on the candidates for the offices allotted to them in the APC power-sharing formula.
Under the formula, the Northeast is to produce the Senate President; Deputy Senate President (South-south); Senate Leader (Northcentral); Chief Whip (Southeast/ Southwest) and Deputy Chief Whip (Southwest / Southeast).
Besides the Speaker, the party is yet to release the details of zoning in the House because of challenges in some zones.
A top source said: “The President and the APC leaders are not taking things for granted. All APC governors have been advised to take charge and unite National Assembly members-elect at the zonal level.
“We want senators-elect and House members-elect to come for the inauguration of the National Assembly ready to work for the interest of the party.
“Apart from resolving issues surrounding principal offices zoned to the six geopolitical zones, our Senators and members of the House would be in a position to assist the President in ensuring the election of Lawan and Gbajabiamila.
“The essence of the consultations by the governors is to keep APC intact, ensure party supremacy and checkmate the opposition PDP which is desperate to infiltrate the ranks of the new Senators and House members.
“If we are able to overcome challenges at the zonal level on principal officers, we will be more focused for the battle for the Senate President and the Speaker.”
Responding to a question, the source said: “Out of the six zones, we have a major challenge in the Northwest, especially Kano where we have heavyweights (returnee House members) seeking juicy principal offices in the Lower Chamber.
“With the President coming from Katsina, our leaders in Kano State want to have all the offices zoned to the Northwest. This is why consensus is necessary at zonal level.”
On tomorrow’s Southwest governors, meeting with House members-elect in Abuja, another source added: “We want to speak with one voice unlike the situation in 2015 when Southwest lawmakers betrayed Gbajabiamila. The meeting, which will take place in Ekiti Governor’s Lodge will set the template for amicable sharing of offices likely to be zoned to the Southwest.”
At the weekend in Abuja, APC National Vice Chairman in the Northcentral Ahmed Suleiman Wambai explained why the President and the party settled for Lawan and Gbajabiamila for the Assembly leadership.
Justifying the party’s position, Wambai identified past experience, excellence and loyalty as ingredients that qualified Lawan and Gbajabiamila for the exalted offices.
Wambai said the President and other party leaders showed interests in the duo because of their loyalty and vast experience.
The party, he said, supported the two to move the country forward.
•Excerpted from The Nation report