The precedence in the choice of leadership for the National Assembly reverberates that winner takes it all, in this regard, the party with the majority number in the house clears all the positions.
This was the practice obtainable during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership of the house with geo-political zoning of these positions and which is what the All Progressives Congress (APC) also uses as a template when it took over majority in the two house.
However, the precedence was not duly followed in 2015 during the inauguration and emergence of leadership of leadership for the APC-controlled 8th Senate.
The APC has already revealed that it will stick with the template in use since 2015 and there are indications that the party may have began handing out these positions to these geo-political zones.
The party leadership already gave endorsement of the candidacy of Senator Ahmad Lawan for Senate Presidency, thereby confirming he zoning of the top post to the North-East.
In a new report by THE PUNCH, the 21-member National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC may have zoned to South-South, Senate Majority Leader to North-Central, Deputy Majority Leader to South-East, Chief Whip to North-West and Deputy Chief Whip to South-West.
According to a source, a top echelon in the NWC, who spoke on condition of anonymity, “the zoning formula is not yet cast in iron.”
The source stated that, “Based on our tentative arrangement, the position of the Deputy Senate President has been zoned to the South-South. The Majority Leader position has been zoned to the North-Central, while the Deputy Majority Leader slot will be zoned to the South-East.
“Also, the position of the Chief Whip has been zoned to the North-West while that of the Deputy Chief Whip has been zoned to the South-West. It is either the South-West gets that or the Deputy Majority Leader position, but like I said, that would most likely go to the South-East. But we have no specific candidates for the positions. I have also read that the party is trying to push for a consensus for those positions to avoid issues; we will see as things unfold; don’t forget that we still have till June.”
The party chief, when asked about the zoning arrangement said, “This is politics and everybody would want to be counted and don’t forget that politics is about position, power and influence and that is why every zone is fighting. Don’t forget that Nigeria is not for us alone; other regions have to be represented. Each of the geopolitical zones must be represented in the leadership of the National Assembly.”
As far as zoning goes in the for House of Representatives leadership, the party had only concluded the zoning of the Speaker’s position to the South-West, while sharing of other principal offices were still being deliberated upon.
A source also revealed that, “Zoning other House of Representatives positions would require another meeting of the NWC. We were supposed to meet on Friday but we couldn’t meet. However, we should meet early next week. There is still enough time to conclude things.”
According to the source, the idea is to ensure that each of the zones gets one of the two presiding and four principal offices in the Senate.
Another source within APC’s NWC also shared that the NWC was yet to take a decision on the zone that will produce the next Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, which is one of the factors delaying the naming of the leaders of the House of Representatives.
It would be recalled that the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr Lanre Isa-Onilu, had revealed that the party had only decided to make Ahmed Lawan the President of the Senate, stating that the zoning formula for the remaining positions in the Senate and the House of Representatives were being worked out.
Meanwhile, this zoning arrangement has subsequently affected the ambition of some Senators and Honourables who have been nursing various ambition which runs contrary to this zoning arrangement.
One of such lawmaker who has been caught in this web is the wife of the National Leader of the party, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who is secretly vying to become the Deputy Senate President in the 9th assembly.
The ambition may be dead on arrival considering that Senator Tinubu is from the South-West, representing Lagos Central Senatorial District.
In a new development, other ranking senators from the South-East, South-South and South-West are still jostling for the Deputy Senate President’s position.
THE PUNCH disclosed that notable senators from these zones have indicated their interest in the position in separate interviews.
The ranking senators from the South-West asides from Senator Tinubu, jostling for the post includes Senators Teslim Folarin, Ajayi Boroffice, Abdulfatai Buhari, Olubunmi Adetunmbi and Ibikunle Amosun.
The two ranking senators of the party from the South-East are Senators Orji Uzor Kalu and Benjamin Uwajumogu, but the latter has yet to receive his certificate of return.
While Senators Francis Alimikhena and Ovie Omo-Agege from the South-South are the two ranking members of the party that were re-elected to the ninth Senate.
However, Omo-Agege may have hit rock bottom considering the court judgment that just nullified the primaries that secure his candidacy and subsequent election as a Senator.
Source, Image Credit: The Punch, Twitter, Google Image Search
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