2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
10th N’Assembly: Uncertainty As North, South Supremacy Battle Likely
With all attempts at diplomacy to create a nexus of understanding gradually failing by the day, there are indications that the Northern and Southern parts of the country may be on a collision course over the race for the 10th National Assembly leadership.
LEADERSHIP Friday findings revealed that some political forces in the North, who are miffed by what they believe is an attempt to impose presiding officers from the zone on them, may adopt an approach that is certain to lead to conflict ahead of the June 13 inauguration of the 10th National Assembly.
This is coming just as close allies of the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, from the South West have urged him to thread with caution, especially as it partains to the leadership tussle in the Green Chamber.
It was further gathered that top traditional rulers, one from the South-West and two from the North, have intervened in the matter.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) had adopted Senator Godswill Akpabio from South South as Senate president; Senator Jibrin Barau from North West as deputy Senate president; Hon Tajudeen Abbas from the North West as Speaker of House of Representatives, and Hon Benjamin Kalu from the South East as deputy Speaker.
But aggrieved aspirants in both federal legislative chambers have rejected the party’s zoning arrangement.
Those opposed to it are Senators Abdulaziz Yari, Orji Uzor Kalu and Osita Izunaso in the upper chamber, while deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase; Aliyu Murktar Betara, Sani Jaji, Sada Soli, Ahmed Gagdi and Mariam Onuoha, jointly called G-6 Aspirants Forum, are kicking against the zoning arrangement in the House of Representatives.
Sensing trouble, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Northern Elders Forum (NEF) had separately cautioned against interfering with the way the lawmakers choose their leaders, insisting that the lawmakers should be allowed to choose their leaders.
An impeccable source told LEADERSHIP Friday yesterday that top Yoruba leaders close to the president-elect advised him to be cautious, especially with the battle in the House of Representatives because it appears to have been poorly managed.
A source who did not want his name in print said, “For now, we know that the president-elect has washed his hands off because there is enormous pressure on himself from his Yoruba leaders who have warned him to calm down on this speakership issue so that it will not look as if there is a North-South tussle.
“We know the number of traditional rulers who have called to discuss with us avout their apprehensions over a potential influential appointee who they claim is using his closeness with Tinubu to maltreat aspirants. For now, the North has the feeling that some persons from the South West are oppressing a Northerner,” the source said.
The source noted that there is growing concern in the North over alleged attempt to impose someone on the region “from outside and people of the north hate that type of perception.”
Meanwhile, as the uncertainty over which camp has the upper hand lingers, it was gathered that the anointed APC candidates might be struggling in the face of combined force of the aggrieved aspirants.
Although the figures were hazy as of press time, it was learnt that Akpabio has about 40 loyal s’Senators on his side, while Yari and Kalu combined have about 73 who have signed up to their alliance.
In the House of Representatives, it was learnt that while Abbas has 100 loyal supporters, the G-6 alliance boasts of 200 loyalists.
“In the House, the Abbas camp would need to break the G-6 alliance because by next week they don’t break them, they won’t be able to do so again, as the opposition parties are determined to work against the APC,” another source hinted.
LEADERSHIP Friday recalls that apparently wary by the uncertainty trailing the party’s zoning arrangement, national chairman of the APC, Sen Abdullahi Adamu, had on Tuesday asked members of the party to stop referring to Hon Tajudeen Abbas as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Speaking when Abbas led some members-elect of the House to the party’s national secretariat to meet with members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), Adamu said other aspirants for the speakership position had also visited him and the NWC to seek for support.
He said, “I want to make one correction so that we will not be misrepresented. A number of you have referred to Hon Abbas as the Speaker. Please, he is one of the aspirants. He will become Speaker on the day of proclamation.
“The laws guiding that office are very clear; he will earn that on the day of proclamation by the president and commander in chief of the 10th National Assembly.The Clerk to the National Assembly will conduct an election. There is no option other than the election.
“When he comes out of that election and they raise his hand and when he is sworn in as the Speaker, that nomenclature becomes most appropriate. Wait. Continue doing your good work”.
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