Politics

Two Governors, Top House Officer Fingered in Singlehandedly Formulating APC’s NASS Zoning List

Ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly next month, it is learnt that two governors and a sitting principal officer allegedly influenced the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to zone leadership positions in the Senate and the House of Representatives to their preferred candidates.

POLITICS NIGERIA recalls that during a NWC meeting on May 8th, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, announced that the party had zoned the office of the new Senate President to the South South (Senator Godswill Akpabio), the deputy to the North West (Senator Barau Jibrin), the new Speaker to North West (Tajudeen Abbas) and the deputy to the South East (Benjamin Kalu).

It is believed that the governors played a role in the nomination of their candidates for the positions, possibly to reward their support before, during and after the presidential election.

The principal officer, who may not return to the chamber, was also said to have influenced the proposed list of principal officers for the House of Representatives, ensuring only his candidates were considered, Saturday Sun reports.

However, the names of the governors and house officer have not been disclosed.

The source said: “For instance, when it came to the deputy speaker position, during several meetings convened to consider a southern candidate for the position, there were pleas that the South East should be considered.

“When that plea scaled through, based on the principle of inclusion, the principal officer insisted it must come from a particular state and a particular member. This same principal officer made sure other qualified aspirants from the South East were not considered. In fact, it got to a level when it became personal, whipped up bogus academic qualifications for his candidate and derided the status of any other candidate who was being considered for the deputy speaker position.

“The arguments became so heated that he was accused of favouring a particular candidate from the South East for the position so as to jettison the chances of Senator Orji Kalu from contesting the leadership position in the 10th Senate.”

This newspaper learnt that a highly-placed party source revealed that the APC National Working Committee (NWC) held a meeting this week to review the rejected zoning formula, taking into account the protests, and is set to release a new report after reviewing it with party leaders.

Asked when the report would be ready, he simply replied: “All I know is that the NWC has met on the protests from those aspiring to leadership positions in the Senate and the House of Reps. They met this week and have reviewed the zoning list they released earlier. You know the President-elect is not in the country. But I can assure you that the report would be ready and presented to him when he returns. It is only after that has been agreed upon that all the aspirants would be invited and they would know the new zoning arrangement before it is released to the public.”

Although the APC has promised to address agitations against the zoning and micro-zoning of the leadership positions, four members of the speakership aspirants in the House of Representatives, known as G7, have vowed to take action on Inauguration Day if the party fails to review the zoning of leadership positions in a way that is acceptable to members.

They warned of a possible ‘Dogara and Tambuwal’ scenario.

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