Indications have emerged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) may review its zoning formula.
The decision, LEADERSHIP gathered, is fallout of the recent parley between the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and presidential candidate of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, in Paris, France, recently.
Revelations from the meeting indicate that North Central might be considered for the deputy Senate president position as against the North West which was earlier picked by the APC for the position. APC had announced its zoning formula which favoured minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godwill Akpabio, (South South) as Senate president and Tajudeen Abbas (North West) as Speaker of House of Representatives for the 10th National Assembly.
The APC NWC also confirmed the endorsement of Senator Barau Jubrin (North West) as deputy Senate president and Ben Kalu (South East) as deputy Speaker of the House. The meeting between Tinubu and Kwankwaso had caused an upset within the camp of Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, who had been at loggerheads with his predecessor, Kwankwaso. The protracted power tussle culminated in the recent governorship election where Kwankwaso’s NNPP gained political control of the state by producing the next governor.
It was however gathered that at the meeting with Tinubu in France, Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano State, made a case for the North Central to be considered for the deputy Senate president, following the agitation that trailed the zoning formula of the party which excluded the region. Kwankwaso’s gesture, it was learnt, is aimed at ensuring he enjoys smooth access to the president-elect.
Senator Barau, APC’s pick for the deputy Senate president, is Senator-elect for Kano North, and enjoys the support of Ganduje. With the likely altering of the APC zoning formula, it was learnt that Senator Sani Musa from Niger State in the North Central geopolitical zone, might be considered for the deputy Senate president slot.
A member-elect who confided in our correspondents said, “Our outing today at the APC headquarters was very encouraging and we are more determined to drive home our point that Abbass possesses the qualities to lead us.
“So, our plan now is to ensure we are well fortified in one accord to go into the chamber because we cannot say exactly what the chambers will dictate. But in case of any unexpected thing, we will nominate a southerner who is a strong supporter of Abbas to take the chair of the lower chamber.
“We are not in shortage of people so the opposition cannot take anything from us. We will definitely go to the South south and we have the likes of Professor Julius Ihonvbere who is well respected by all. We can immediately put him forward to balance the whole thing as a plan B.
“Remember that we did it in 2015. Majority of us from the north wanted Gbajabiamila against Dogara but when Saraki emerged as senate president, we had to change our game immediately in the chambers so that two persons of the same ethnic group would not preside over the National Assembly. That was how Dogara emerged by surprise”. With the prospect of Yari causing an upset in the Senate, a plan B is already in the works to ensure a southerner emerges to replace the Hon Tajudeen Abbas who hails from the North West.
Another source who spoke with LEADERSHIP said, “If Yari wins, it would leave a serious issue – two Muslims leading NASS aside being two Northerners. So that informed the need for the group to prop a Plan B in case that happens. They will immediately and swiftly, switch to South for Speaker. It’s a case of finding regional and religious balance.”
Meanwhile, a Northern group in the forefront of the 2023 election campaigns for the APC, Tinubu/Shettima for Greater Nigeria (TSGN) has called on president -elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to ignore insinuations in some quarters that members of the G-7, a group made of aspirants for the leadership of the next House of Representatives, were against him.
A statement signed by national president of the Association, Mallam Negedu Miringi, and national secretary, Comrade Suleiman Ahmed, said, “G-7 are Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s men who want him to succeed. They are the ones that really worked for his emergence as the Presidential candidate of APC and his subsequent victory at the general elections proper. They contributed resources and took risk for him.
“Most of those aspirants delivered their constituencies to Tinubu at the poll against all odds. Some even worked against their brothers who contested in other political parties to ensure that Tinubu and APC win their constituencies and senatorial zones.” In a related development the APC online media outfit, the APC NewsOnline Television, has analysed the chances of all the aspirants for the position of Senate president in the coming 10th National Assembly.
In the analysis, the news medium presented Senator Osita Izunaso as the only aspirant without a baggage and possessing the best qualifications in terms of legislative experience, intellectual capacity and commitment to the party.
The outfit which is popular for promoting and clarifying the APC’s core objectives and ideological direction, has always been on the APC general campaign machinery since the party ascendancy on the national scene, and is allied to the APC BroomPlatform, which is a grade A support group of the APC, and serving as the intellectual powerhouse of the party.
“After carrying out a strategic nationwide polling of Nigerian professionals, politicians and media practitioners on their legislative expectations for the next four years found a growing acceptance that while southeast should produce the Senate president, the Senator-elect from Imo West, a long time APC strategist should mount the rostrum of the red chambers,” it stated. The president-elect was said to have made up his mind to tinker with the unpopular zoning formula and come up with a new one that would enhance national cohesion.
Tony Blair Visits President-elect
Former British prime minister, Sir Tony Blair, yesterday pledged his readiness to support the incoming administration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu to succeed in office as the next president of Nigeria. Blair gave the commitment when he visited the president-elect at the Defence House, Abuja.
He said the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change which he founded would be a willing partner of the Tinubu administration, especially in prioritising its goals and delivery. He said since leaving office as the UK prime minister, he had been working with governments around the world to help them deliver on their mandates.
He said Blair Institute has a project in place in Nigeria and felt it was incumbent upon him to meet Nigeria’s incoming president to understand the administration’s priorities. “We would like to help in any way with your administration. We only need to know what the leadership priorities are and help in how to actualise them,” Blair told Tinubu.
He commended Tinubu’s campaign focus on key areas of security, economy, agriculture and power, describing the intertwined nature of the areas as critical to the development of any society. He expressed optimism that with the appetite shown by investors to invest in Nigeria, the Tinubu administration could get the support it needs to spur economic development in the country.
Blair, however, acknowledged the difficult task before Tinubu and other leaders, at a time of global turmoil. “Being in government today anywhere in the world is tough. You have things happening around the world which affect you and for which you can’t do anything much,” he said.
Responding, the president-elect thanked Blair for the visit and for his offer to work with his administration. He spoke of the shared vision between him and Tony Blair Institute in their priority areas, underlining the need to tackle investment challenges and the need for social investment to fight poverty.
Tinubu said, “Yes, we are challenged. But where is our courage? We can eliminate ignorance, diseases and poverty in Africa. We must work hard to ensure democracy works for our people. “We have to invest more, put technology in place and keep terrorists at bay because without effective security, there is no guarantee investors will come”. The president-elect promised to provide a conducive environment that would encourage investors and open up opportunities for the people.
Tinibu was accompanied to the meeting by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; vice president -elect, Kashim Shettima; member of Tinubu Transition Team, Wale Edun; former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu; Senator representing Lagos East senatorial district, Adetokunbo Abiru and executive secretary of National Sugar Development Council, Zacch Adedeji.