National chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu, is at the receiving end, as key loyalists of the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, have commenced moves to remove him from office for initiating a review of the zoning arrangement for principal offices of the National Assembly.
APC had on Monday officially announced the endorsement of Akpabio (South South) as president of the 10th and Abbas (North West) as Speaker of the incoming 10th Assembly.
The party also named Tajudeen Abbas, from Kaduna State (North West) as Speaker of the House and Benjamin Kalu from Abia State (South East) as deputy Speaker.
The party’s zoning formula had sparked protests by aspirants seeking to occupy the National Assembly top seats, Adamu declared that the zoning arrangement will be revisited.
To stave off the barrage of protests and criticisms, Adamu had on Thursday told aspirants for the Senate presidency race who stormed the party’s national secretariat in protest that the party would go back to the drawing board and review the zoning formula.
LEADERSHIP Weekend however gathered yesterday that the plot to remove Adamu is in force over suspicions that he is backing the move against the zoning arrangement.
A party source told this paper in confidence that Adamu’s position didn’t sit well with the loyalty of Tinubu.
Associates and close allies to the president-elect, the source revealed, are angry that following the rejection of the proposed leadership list released by the APC on Monday, the party’s NWC members decided to meet on their own and are actively reviewing the zoning formula.
“The NWC has met and they have taken into consideration the agitations from members interested in contesting the leadership positions. We have met and we will soon write a report to be submitted for consideration by the president-elect and other party leaders. The President-elect is not in the country right now but the report would be ready before he returns,” our source disclosed.
Apparently miffed by NWC’s attempt to pacify aggrieved aspirants for the Senate presidency and speakership position, it was learnt that Tinubu’s men are angling for the removal of the national chairman sooner than expected.
A source in the pro-zoning camp told LEADERSHIP weekend: “The game plan of those opposed to the zoning arrangement is known to us on this side; we know how they are discussing with the opposition to corner the leadership to themselves.
“There is no way they can succeed but we will not rest until we achieve the main goal we are eyeing. The worst is that the president will delay the proclamation of the National Assembly until such a time that we get the required support and numbers to install the leadership that can work without friction with the new president.
“For a fact, there is no law binding the president on a specific date and number of days for the proclamation and we will ensure all those recalcitrant members are brought on board.
“Apart from that we are very much aware of all that the national chairman has been doing in the last four or so weeks. He has demonstrated nonchalance and implicitly uncooperative attitude since the discussions commenced.
“Here is a man who was into the whole game since it started and here, the same man coming clandestinely to incite some Senate presidential and House speakership aspirants to revolt against the president-elect’s decision which he took in the interior of the party and Nigeria.
“All we know is Adamu Abdulahi is a mole in this great party and must be shown the way out because we cannot trust him. We have so many reasons for this if we delay a little more than necessary, we may be having issues from May 29. We must find a solution to him.
“How can a man who leads a party provide weapon and tool for the opposition to fight the ruling party under the guise of aggrieved aspirants to leadership positions in the National Assembly. As it stands, we are more than convinced that he is mole.
“And I must shock you; this man is already aware that the PDP and other opposition parties are going to Uyo for a retreat and the purpose of that trip is map out strategies on how our party will be humbled during the inauguration of both Chambers,” the source added.
Aggrieved Aspirants Move To Scuttle ‘Gbajabiamila’s List
Meanwhile, aggrieved aspirants for the National Assembly leadership positions have teamed up against their perceived political nemesis, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, in a bid to scuttle plans to proceed with the current zoning arrangement announced by the APC.
To this effect, they have vowed to stop candidates singlehandedly picked by the Speaker from emerging as presiding officers in the 10th Assembly.
A dependable source within the APC told LEADERSHIP that the lawmakers are angry that Gbajabiamila swayed the party’s NWC to zone and micro-zone the Speaker and deputy Speaker positions to the North West and South East respectively, “much to the exclusion of other Reps-elect who are interested in contesting for the vacant positions in the 10th Assembly.”
Another party source duly informed about details of a series of meetings held by the party’s NWC and other party leaders on the zoning arrangement of the principal officers said Gbajabiamaila ensured only his candidates were considered.
The source who did not want his name in print said, “For instance, when it came to the deputy speaker position, during several meetings, the party agreed that a suitable Christian southern candidate should be considered, but, he was able to convince party leaders that the slot should go to the South East because the South South was being considered for Senate President.
“That was when the agenda unfolded. He was insistent that a particular candidate, from the South East should be the considered as the deputy speaker. Several speakers at the meeting opposed his choice but he was able to persuade party leaders to adopt his candidate for the position.”
The source further noted that a top ranking APC leader opposed the choices presented by the Speaker but he insisted that the candidate from the South East would “serve the party better.”
“Senior party members at the meeting were not in support of his candidate and asked the party to adopt the president-elect’s campaign promises that women would be given prime positions in his government.
“We urged the party to remember that it is only the APC that has been in the forefront of inclusivity, with regards to having women in positions of power and they should also remember that the APC has promised women their 35 percent slots in government.
“We also urged the party to note that in the 10th Assembly, it would be against our principles not to correct the anomaly in the 9th Assembly where no woman was a presiding officer. Eventually, this proposition was jettisoned,” the source added.
Like Tinubu, Wase Says ‘Emilokan’ At Formal Declaration
Meanwhile, deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Idris Wase, yesterday formally declared to contest for speaker of the 10th House of Representatives.
Wase who noted that he is the ‘emi lokan’ for the House of Representatives said his intention to run for the position was to evolve a virile and truly independent legislature.
Wase’s promise was contained in his 10-point agenda he publically unveiled while declaring his intention to run for the office.
Wase’s declaration was attended by all the six out of the seven aspirants who are opposed to the choice of the APC, Tajudeen Abbas.
Other aspirants in attendance are chairman House Committee on Appriopration, Hon Mukhtar Betara of (Borno); chairman committee on intelligence in the 8th Assembly, Hon Jaji from (Zamfara); chairman committee on water resources, Hon Sada Soli (Katsina); chairman committee on Navy, Yusuf Gagdi (Plateau) and Hon Princess Mariam Onouha (Imo)
Those listed above and the House leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, had formed a State the G7 group bonded by their protest against nomination of Hon Tajudeen Abass as preffered speaker.
The G7 revealed that members of the group have resolved to nominate only one candidate among them to contest against Tajudeen.
Specifically, Soli, Gagdi and Betara made the revelation.
“Six of us aspirants are here to support the campaign of our deputy speaker. Six of us are determined to protect democracy because the House of Representatives is the House of the Nigerian people. By the time we lock ourselves in the House, no leadership of the House will be there. It will be we and we. May God almighty see our heart and chose the leader”, they said.
Similarly, Betara also said, “Members-elect, aspirants, I came here to appreciate my brother, the deputy speaker and others for finding time to attend my declaration. I have known the deputy speaker since 2007 and we have been together since then. For us forming a group, we are not fighting, we are all APC members. A consensus candidate can be picked but we must sit and say this is the person we have picked to lead us. I assure all my colleagues, members-elect, former members, we are not going to fight. We are going to agree to support one of us as speaker”.
Shettima Urges APC To Take Charge Of Presiding Officers’ Emergence
Meanwhile, vice president-elect, Kashim Shettima emphasized the need for the APC to take charge of the processes leading to the emergence of presiding officers of the 10th National Assembly.
This is just as he warned that crisis among party members in the National Assembly could taint the relationship between the legislature and executive, denying the people the dividends of democracy.
Shettima made these known yesterday in Abuja during a meeting with the APC’s party’s preferred candidate for speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Tajudeen Abbas (Kaduna) and the preferred deputy speaker, Hon Benjamin Kalu (Abia).
The meeting which was organised by the joint task group of House of Representatives members-elect across party divides who have pledged their support to the choice of APC as speaker and deputy speaker.
While addressing the lawmakers numbering over 100, Shetimma said former President Goodluck Jonathan lost the 2015 election as a result of a rancorous following the emergence of Aminu Tambuwal as speaker of the House against his party’s wish.
“I will take upon myself to reach out to the other contenders. Rt Hon Betara is my brother. We are from the same sub region, we are from the same state and I have the best relationship with him. I met him two nights ago, I will sustain that.
Around 1pm today I met with Rt Hon Wase, the deputy Speaker. We will continue with the engagements so we can have a rancour-free Assembly.
“When Obasanjo lost grip of the National Assembly, his first tenure was a failure. President Buhari could do little in his first term because of a rancorous relationship between the executive and the legislature. What was accomplished in the last four years was because of the harmonious relationship between the executive and legislature.
“When President Goodluck Jonathan lost grip of the National Assembly when Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal emerged as the speaker, that rancorous relationship culminated in his defeat in 2015 general election. Mariam Onuoha is my friend. I will reach out to her.”
Justifying the choice of Godswill Akpabio as Senate president, the former Borno governor said, “What we are trying to avoid is a situation whereby the number one citizen, number two citizen, the number three citizen, the number four citizen, the number four citizen are all of the same faith. That will validate the negative narrative of Islamization of Nigeria.
“That is why my principal, a fair minded individual, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu insists the number three citizen must come from the South/south (Christian). The stability of the nation is more important than any other consideration. We are talking about inclusivity.”
He also advised Abass and Kalu that if they emerged presiding officers of the House they should carry other political parties along in the distribution of committee chairmen.
In his remarks, the endorsed speakership candidate, Abass who expressed gratitude to the president-elect, Bola Tinubu and his vice assured that under them there will be harmonious legislative/executive relationship for the progress of the country.
“We are very grateful to you, the president-elect and to the party for finding us worthy of leadership. I want to assure you that we will not disappoint the party. We will work harmoniously with the executive,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Kalu who is the spokesperson of the House thanked APC, Tinubu and Shetimma for rewarding South/East despite the abysmal performance of the party at the general election in the zone.
He said, “It is with great joy that I stand before you to say thank you. To pledge our commitment to your administration, rancour free, acrimony free administration. It’s a pledge.
“In your magnanimity you decided to show that cohesion was necessary for nation building. But this time, irrespective of the votes that come from the South East, you considered cohesion and gave us deputy speaker, we are grateful.
“Sir, here we have over 153 members some of whom are outside who are in support of the decision that the party has taken because this is the decision that will give every part of the nation a sense of belonging.”
In his opening remarks, Usman Kumo, the chairman of joint task force said they were out to ensure that there is a rancour-free 10th Assembly for good governance to thrive by ensuring that the resolution of the ruling party is implemented.