Posted by News Express | 30 June 2019 | 1,155 times
The All Progressives Congress (APC) appears to have broken the deadlock over the choice of its remaining principal officers in the National Assembly.
After several weeks of intense horse trading and media speculations, the leadership of the party on Friday night resolved to concede the position of House of Representatives majority leader to Kano State in the Northwest.
It asked the Kano Caucus of the party in the House to handle the situation following the tough contest for the position by ex-Chief Whip, Ado Doguwa and Goro Aminu Suleiman.
The APC pacified the South-East with the positions of Senate Chief Whip and House of Representatives Deputy Leader.
Ex Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu was given the nod to become Senate Chief Whip, while Nkeiruka Onyejeocha got the backing of the APC as Deputy Leader of the House.
Onyejeocha holds the record of a fourth term lawmaker and the only female principal officer.
Some APC senators and members of the House are said to have grumbled over alleged imposition of candidates on them as principal officers.
They said the party ought to have zoned the positions, and allow each geopolitical caucus to decide.
It was unclear last night if the lawmakers would accept the decisions of the party or not when the National Assembly resumes on Tuesday.
Investigation revealed that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC met for hours on Friday night before agreeing on zoning formula and recommending candidates.
For the House of Representatives, the party zoned the Majority Leader to Kano in the Northwest (being contested by ex-Chief Whip, Ado Doguwa and Goro Aminu Suleiman); Deputy Leader, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (Southeast); Chief Whip, Peter Akpatason (Southsouth) ; and Deputy Chief Whip, M. T. Monguno (Northeast).
In the Senate, the remaining principal officers are Sen. Abdullahi Adamu (North-Central); Deputy Senate Leader, Sen. Ajayi Borrofice (Southwest); Chief Whip, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu (Southeast); and Deputy Chief Whip, Sen. Yahaya Abdullahi (Northwest) who was the chairman of the Ahmad Lawan Campaign Council.
A reliable source in the party said: “The party gave the lawmakers ample time to build consensus and what we did was to design zoning formula and recommend candidates for some offices based on aggregate feelings.
“We know that all Senators and House members can be principal officers. We looked at the need for justice, fairness and loyalty to the party. We conceded the Senate Leader to Sen. Abdullahi Adamu because of his loyalty to the party when it was rough and his selflessness in sacrificing everything to lead the Parliamentary Support Group (PSG) which staved off impeachment plot against President Muhammadu Buhari in the 8th National Assembly.
“We tried to accommodate the Southeast by conceding the positions of Chief Whip in the Senate and Deputy Leader in the House to the zone.
“Out of the two senators from the Southeast, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu has had legislative experience more that ex-Governor Rochas Okorocha, who is a rookie senator.
“It is not an imposition at all. For instance, most APC members of the House are in support of Onyejeocha as Deputy Leader and those in the North-East caucus have reached a gentleman agreement that any office slot for the North-East should go to Monguno. Onyejeocha also represents gender balance among the principal officers.”
Responding, the source added: “We could not agree on House Leader but the party was able to micro-zone it to Kano State from among the states in the Northwest. It is left to Kano Caucus to choose between ex-Chief Whip, Ado Doguwa and Goro Aminu Suleiman.
“Fortunately, we have 24 members from Kano; they will go and vote to choose who becomes the next House Leader.
“We have tried our best as a party, we hope that our lawmakers will see themselves as members of one family and allow these recommended candidates to lead them in the two chambers.”
The source also admitted that the party has already informed both the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila.
“We have consulted these principal officers, “the source added.
But grumblings keep from some governors, Senators and members of the House of Representatives.
A ranking Senator said: “It is sad that we were not consulted by the party. We only expected the APC leadership to zone the offices to geopolitical areas and the lawmakers be allowed to choose the principal officers.
“We are really unhappy that the party decided to impose principal officers on us. Let them gauge our mood, they will see that we are agitated.”
Another Senator from the Northwest said: “Some experienced hands who can assist Lawan to succeed have been left out. The APC leadership did not place priority on merit, they prefer mediocrity.
“We have ranking Senators who are versatile with rich legislative background.”
A ranking member of the House said: “The APC ought to have lived up to its pledge to leave lawmakers to decide House principal officers. This culture of imposition will not help the future of the party.
“It is a common knowledge that we all prefer Monguno as our House Leader. He suffered with Gbajabiamila in 2015 but they are now changing the narrative by claiming that the President of the Senate cannot come from the North-East and the House Leader from the same zone.
“We will surely meet on Tuesday in the House.” (The Nation)
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