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Zoning 10th NASS leadership likely to be determined by national dynamics, vote delivery

Zoning 10th NASS leadership likely to be determined by national dynamics, vote delivery


President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu and leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday commenced the process to decide the zoning formula for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly.

The maiden meeting to decide the zoning was held in Abuja with Tinubu, the vice president-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, among others, in attendance.


There has been intense lobbying by contenders for the Senate presidency and speaker’s position ahead of the inauguration of the 10th parliament in June.

At least, nine persons have indicated interest for the number three position in the country including Senator Jibrin Barau (Kano North); Sen Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom North-West); Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia North); Sen Abdul-Aziz Yari (APC, Zamfara West); Sen Sani Musa (Niger East); Sen Ali Ndume (Borno South), Sen Osita Izunaso (Imo West), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi South) and Adams Oshiomhole (Edo North).

For the speaker’s position, the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase (Plateau); Mukhtar Betara (Borno); Abubakar Makki Yelleman (Jigawa); Yusuf Gagdi (Plateau); Sada Soli Jibia (Katsina); Abdulraheem Olawuyi (Kwara); Abbas Tajudeen (Kaduna), Aminu Sani Jaji (Zamfara), Benjamin Kalu (Abia) and Mariam Odinaka Onuoha (Imo) are in the race.


The delay in deciding the zoning formula for the leadership of the legislature was as a result of the vacation of the president-elect in Paris, France, where he spent 34 days. Soon after his arrival on Monday, contenders and their promoters in the party thronged his residence in furtherance of their lobby.

Party leaders and sources close to the president-elect, said two things would be considered in determining the zoning formula.

In separate chats, they said national dynamics and vote delivery would guide them in taking decisions on the issue.

One of them said, “Key stakeholders will deliberate on the issues at stake and make informed decisions taking into cognisance national interest, stability of the country, equity, justice and fairness – national dynamics.”


Vote delivery

Daily Trust reports that stakeholders of the APC in the North-West, South-South and South- East geopolitical zones have been agitating that the Senate presidency be zoned to their areas. Thus, some leaders of the party including NWC members are advocating that the contribution of zones in terms of votes should be the key yardstick for determining the zoning formula.

A leader of the party from the North said, “The North gave Tinubu 63 per cent of the votes he garnered and now you are saying that northern interest should suffer because of Muslim-Muslim ticket, which is not our creation. It was Tinubu that went for it.


“We have 17 states in the entire South and we don’t have one single Muslim governor, so who is doing who a favour. Are you saying there are no Muslims in the South?”

An analysis of the result of the February 25 presidential poll showed that Tinubu who was declared winner, garnered 8,794,726 votes won in three out of the six geopolitical zones. The former Lagos State governor won in the South West, North West and North Central. He also won at least one state in each of the South South and North East. He didn’t win any state in the South East.

The North West gave the APC the most votes among the six zones, while the South-East gave it the least.

APC secured 2,653,235 votes in the North West (representing 40 per cent of the total votes in the zone), followed by the South West with 2,279,407 votes (54 per cent).

The North Central gave the party 1,670,091 votes (41 per cent), while the North East gave Tinubu 1,185,458 votes (32 per cent).

The APC also garnered 799,957 votes (29 per cent) in the South South while the South East gave the party 127,605 votes (5.8 per cent), the least.

In Kano State, Tinubu scored 517,341 votes, his second highest after Lagos, which gave him 572,606 votes. APC got 375,183 votes in Niger and 160,620 votes in Akwa-Ibom.

Among the states APC got the least votes is Abia, where it scored 8,914 votes.

Tinubu, Shettima, APC leaders hold maiden meeting

At the maiden meeting to discuss the zoning, the leaders resolved that the president-elect should anchor the process to identify the leaders of the parliament.

In each of the two chambers, six positions are up for grabs. Senate: Senate president, deputy, leader, deputy, chief whip and deputy whip. In the House Representatives; the position of the speaker, deputy, house leader, deputy, chief whip and deputy whip are being contested.

A source who attended the meeting, said it was principally convened to discuss the zoning arrangement, dispelling reports that the formula had been decided.

“The meeting was very productive and no names were mentioned for any position throughout. It was also resolved that the president-elect will anchor the efforts of identifying the leadership of the 10th assembly. There was no meeting yesterday (Tuesday). Contenders only paid welcome visits to Asiwaju,” he said.

He said yesterday’s meeting marked the commencement of the ‘real search for the leadership of the next parliament.”

What contenders say

Senators Barau Jibrin (Kano) and Ali Ndume (Borno) said competence and ranking should determine who emerges as Senate president.

Barau dismissed the calls in some quarters for a Christian Senate president to balance the party’s Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket, saying competence should not be jettisoned for religious sentiment.

He said his North West zone should be allowed to produce the next Senate president in appreciation of its support for the APC in the presidential election.

He recalled a time the federal parliament had David Mark as Senate president; Ike Ekweremadu, deputy and Patricia Etteh, House Speaker, all of them Christians.

“They were the most experienced and ranking at that time. Competence was not relegated for sentiment then.

“Bringing religious sentiment won’t fly. It’s about competence not sentiment. When we talk about experience, I’m the most experienced,” the Kano North senator said.

Ndume advocated for an open contest for the Senate presidency just as the party did during its presidential primary.

He said lawmakers should be allowed to choose competent persons among them as their presiding officers, noting that zoning may not produce the best persons.

However, another contender, Senator Sani Musa from Niger State, said he was ready to sacrifice his ambition for a southern Christian candidate in the spirit of equity and fairness.

Musa said the party must ensure religious balance in the composition of the 10th National Assembly leadership for the unity of the country.

He noted that the tension that heralded the APC Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket should be avoided in the race for the Senate presidency.

Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State and Orji Kalu of Abia clamoured for the zoning of the Senate presidency to the South East in the interest of equity, justice and fairness.

Umahi, who is the senator-elect for Ebonyi South District for the 10th Senate, said allowing the South East to produce the next Senate president would help calm frayed nerves in Igbo land.

Kalu said it was his turn to become Senate president, being the most ranking lawmaker from the South East.

He said though the zone might not have voted for Tinubu, zoning the position to the South East would bring peace and honour to the country.

We’ll be fair to all zones – NWC

A top source in the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC said they would be fair to all in the zoning formula.

The source, who was part of the meeting, said though a decision has not been taken on the zoning, the party would come up with an acceptable formula that would address the yearnings of all stakeholders.

“The meeting has just started. The consultation will continue until maybe this weekend. However, what I can assure you is that every zone at the end would read fairness,” he said.

Daily Trust


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