The die is cast in the ongoing feud within the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as members of the National Working Committee (NWC) yesterday dissociated themselves from the stance of the party’s national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, on the selection of principal officers in the 10th National Assembly.
The NWC members said Adamu deliberately rejected the selection of the principal officers in what they described as anti-Tinubu statement without the knowledge of the governors and other NWC members.
Speaking with journalists yesterday, three of the NWC members who spoke on condition of anonymity accused the national chairman of disloyalty to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, saying he is acting on his own.
They also hinted that the APC governors had also asked Adamu to meet with the National Assembly leadership and resolve issues amicably.
Apparently sensing trouble, Adamu and the party’s national secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore, yesterday hurriedly ran to the presidential villa where the met with the president.
Adamu and Omisore who arrived in the villa at about 5:13pm, were cleared to see Tinubu in his office a few minutes after they entered the place.
Although details of the meeting with the president was sketchy at the time of filing this report, LEADERSHIP learnt that Adamu and Omisore’s move to see Tinubu was in a bid to shelve any impending action against them in the forthcoming caucus and National Executive Committee (NEC) meetings of the party billed for Monday and Tuesday.
Adamu, it was gathered, explained his position on the selection of the National Assembly principal officers without the knowledge of the party’s leadership, a development he insisted was a deviation from the usual ways things are done when it comes to taking such a crucial decision of who becomes what in the party.
It was however not clear whether the president’s response to the national chairman’s explanation favoured him.
This is coming barely 24 hours after Adamu disowned the principal officers of the 10th National Assembly announced on Tuesday by Senate president, Godswill Akpabio and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, saying it was a rumour.
In a letter read in plenary on Tuesday, Akpabio had named Senators Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central) as Majority Leader, Ali Ndume (Borno South) as chief whip, Dave Umahi (Ebonyi South) as deputy leader and Lola Ashiru (Kwara Central) as deputy chief whip.
In the House, Speaker Abbas had yesterday named Hon Julius Ihonvbere (Edo) as majority leader and Hon Usman kumo (Gombe) as chief whip.
Abbas also named Halims Abdulahi from Kogi as deputy majority leader and Hon Oriyomi Onanuga from Ogun as the deputy chief whip.
The Speaker equally announced Hon Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) as the minority leader; Hon Ali Isah (PDP, Gombe), minority whip; Madaki Aliyu (NNPP, Kano) deputy minority leader and George Ozodinobi (Anambra, LP) deputy minority whip.
But debunking the endorsement of the principal officers of the National Assembly during a meeting of APC governors and NWC members held at the NWC Hall of the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, Adamu told the governors that the party has not officially selected the presiding officers.
Reacting to the development during an interactive meeting with the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) at the party’s national secretariat, the APC national chairman had said his leadership was not aware of the announcement made in the National Assembly by the Senate president and the Speaker.
It however became obvious yesterday that the national chairman was on his own when three members of the party’s leadership dissociated the NWC and APC governors from the stance taken by Adamu against the selection of the principal officers if the National Assembly.
“During the meeting many governors who spoke on the issue cautioned the chairman and urged him to reach out to the leadership of the National Assembly and resolve the matter amicably. It was unanimously believed at the meeting that the emergence of leaders of the two chambers of National Assembly is with the blessing of the president,” they said.
Accusing Adamu of disloyalty to the president, the NWC members noted: “It would appear that the national chairman has made up his mind not to work harmoniously with President Asiwaju as he repeatedly keeps disputing decisions he has made towards constituting his government.
“We, therefore, distance ourselves and the NWC from such actions that clearly undermine the smooth take off of the APC federal government under the leadership of President Asiwaju and call on the national chairman to desist from such action.”
We Breached No Law, Says Senate Minority Caucus
Meanwhile, the Senate minority caucus maintained yesterday that the emergence of their principal officers was not faulty but in line with their rules.
Speaking after the minority caucus meeting on Wednesday, the leader of the minority, Simon Devou Nwadkwon, faulted Adamu, saying the emergence of the principal officers was not faulty.
“Our emergence was not faulty. We followed the Senate rules,” Nwadkwon said, adding that the lawmakers have the right to elect their leaders.
Nwadkwon said they will build a virile and constructive opposition caucus in the 10th Senate for the benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians.
Insisting that the selection of principal officers was properly done, he said, “It is also important to inform Nigerians at this point that in line with relevant laws, practices, procedures and conventions, and traditions, the principal officers of a Legislative Assembly are not balloted. It is not a competitive election moderated by INEC or any other umpire, but a matter that is rooted in age- long and well-established legislative practices and procedures.
“Despite the fact that whenever issues of political leadership are raised, you cannot discountenance the emergence of contentious voices, especially in a situation involving six political parties. This is expected because that in itself is the beauty and natural character of democracy whereby we disagree without being disagreeable.”
He pointed out that it is democracy at its best and parliamentary politics at its finest for democratic consolidation in Nigeria.
“However, rather than dwell on issues of parliamentary politics we should now focus on putting machinery in place to unite all opposition parties and outline our opposition leadership agenda to the Nigerian people that will ensure virile opposition assertiveness in the Senate to keep the ruling majority on their toes.”