National Assembly of Nigeria leadership: Ripples over APC govs’ ‘endorsement’

The purported endorsement by some outgoing governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of certain individuals for leadership positions in the 10th National Assembly is causing ripples among leaders of the APC and some incoming members of the National Assembly. 

In a video that has since gone viral online, Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, flanked by other APC governors, claimed that former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio had been endorsed as the consensus candidate of the party.

After a meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) of APC on Wednesday, the national chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu, said the party was still consulting and would announce its position soon.

He had said: “When we do the zoning meeting, we don’t just go alone as a party. Zoning is to take along the person who has the mandate of this country, the president-elect, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu; we want to take him along. He travelled after the election and he came back only last week and we have to carry him along.

“And we cannot stop those who are ambitious or zoning interests, or individual interests, 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’s what we are working on. It is not a one-day affair.”

Last week, there were claims that the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, had reportedly endorsed Akpabio. But the move was rejected by the various caucuses of the Senate, who said they would oppose the move, citing many reasons why the former Akwa Ibom State governor was a wrong choice. Some APC stakeholders, who have been at the forefront of zoning, said micro-zoning the position will be detrimental. They’d also warned of dismissing some aspirants who are from some parts of the country. Other contenders for the position of Senate President are Orji Uzor Kalu, Adams Oshiomhole, and Osita Izunaso, among others.

Some APC leaders who are opposed to the micro-zoning and the hurried decision taken by the outgoing APC governors argued that the position should be zoned to the entire South and the contest thrown open in order to create a sense of belonging. Some others insist that the position should be zoned to the South-East to give the people a sense of belonging in the APC.

According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC has 59 senators-elect, while the opposition made up of different political parties, has 50 members.

There are claims that opposition senators might move against any candidate endorsed by APC or any organ of the party.

A source said opposition senators-elect and some APC lawmakers are insisting that members of the 10th National Assembly should be allowed to elect its own leaders. The source warned that if the call by lawmakers is ignored, Tinubu might face a similar challenge experienced by Muhammadu Buhari when Bukola Saraki held sway as President of the Senate. He said the current Senate, whose leadership was determined by the Executive, is a clear example why Nigeria needs an independent National Assembly, where lawmakers are expected to watch the excesses of the Executive.

He said: “The contest is between the South East and the South South. You can’t micro-zone the position. APC has left out the South East since 2015. Tinubu is too smart to repeat the same mistake. Shutting down the South East will be detrimental.

“We expect APC to zone the position of the President of the Senate to the South East or to the entire South and allow anyone interested to slug it out. But it appears some elements are opposed to any fair contest.

“They want to repeat the mistake of 2015 and 2019, where they micro-zoned the positions in the National Assembly to certain people. In 2015, we saw the rebellion. In 2019, people who reduced the National Assembly to a subservient position were elected.

“I believe Tinubu will have the final say in taking a decision. We should wait until he takes over soon. The dynamics will change. The governors who endorsed Akpabio will be irrelevant by May 29th. Their access to Tinubu and to power will be limited.”


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