It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari through his special adviser on Media, Garba Shehu released a statement on the leadership of NASS, …”the president will not influence the decision of the National assembly on who becomes her leader”.
Contrary to the President’s stand on who emerges as Senate President and the speaker of the house, the party leadership seems to have concluded on who leads the both chambers to avoid the mistakes of the past that lead to tumult between the Saraki and the executive.
APC may have settled for some key members of the party to lead the incoming federal legislature – The current majority leaders in both chambers of the National Assembly are said to be the party’s anointed.
As reported by ThisDay the lobby for the leadership of the 9th National Assembly has become more intense. According to the report, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) may have settled for some key members of the party to lead the incoming federal legislature. The party is said to be intent on avoiding its mistake that led to leadership crisis in the outgoing 8th National Assembly, and its leaders are putting its heads together to select its choice of candidates for leadership positions in the federal legislature.
Several meetings, according to sources quoted in the report, have been held in Abuja to get the APC hierarchy to zero in on trusted legislators it feels would make the job of President Muhammadu Buhari, who now has a second term of four years, easier.
In the outgoing 8th Assembly, both the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives are from the North in spite of the fact that the president is from the geo-political divide of the country. The situation, said APC party watchers, arose largely as a result of the failure of its leaders to act promptly in allotting the positions to the various zones. That, explained an analyst, was also due to the fact that the party’s constitution, unlike the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP), does not recognize zoning of political offices even when its leaders apply the principle in practice. “Our leaders are determined to correct this and are working on it,” a senior official quoted in the report said.
According to him, the growing consensus is that the Senate president should come from the north, while the Speaker of the House of Representatives should emerge from the south. Accordingly, he said, the growing plan is to allot the position of deputy president of the Senate to the south, while the deputy speaker post would move up north. According to the reliable source, the thinking of the party leadership is that the since the president is from the north-west, the Senate presidency should go to the north-east. The deputy Senate presidency, he added, is being contemplated for either the south-east or the south-south.
The source explained that the south-west is being tipped for the Speakership, while the north-central might get the deputy speaker slot. Already, presidential foot soldiers have gone to work, using trusted newly elected legislators to identify and push its preferred candidates. For the position of Senate president, the current leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, has been being tipped and might emerge as the preferred candidate of the party. The leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, is also looking good as the party’s preferred candidate for the slot.
According to sources, the main argument for the choice of the duo is their ranking status. Both have been in the National Assembly since 1999. “Both of them having held leadership positions in the assembly and having demonstrated loyalty to the party, are found to be more suitable if the party is to avoid the stress of the last three and a half years plus,” a party source said.
Some of the ex-governors eyeing the Senate top job include Former governors of Gombe and Nasarawa States, Sen. Danjuma Goje (Gombe) and Sen. Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa). The governors-turned-senators say it would be wrong for them to come to the Senate and be subservient to their former subjects who used to prostrate before ‘His Excellency.’ APC may plunge into another unending crisis if not properly managed, as the chairman of the party is fighting tooth and nail to bring everyone under his leadership.