By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
As the tussle for the leadership positions in the ninth National Assembly rages, a group of All Progressives Congress (APC) stakeholders on Tuesday staged a protest at the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja, demanding zoning of the House of Representatives speaker to the North-central zone of the country.
The group, under the auspices of North-central APC Ambassadors, in a letter dated April 1st, which was addressed to the National Chairman of the party, insisted that the zone should be given the opportunity to produce the Speaker of the House of Representatives as a reward for the 2.4 million votes it gave President Muhammadu Buhari during last presidential poll.
The letter was jointly signed by the coordinators from five states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) — Muyideen Yusuf (Kwara), Rita Longjap (Plateau), Muhammad Ibn Muhammad (Niger), Lucas Cassius (Nasarawa) Yahaya Dauda (FCT) and Shehu Araga (Kogi).
The leadership of the APC had openly endorsed Senator Ahmed Lawan from North-east for Senate President and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila from South-west as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Also, the National Leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, had declared his support for the Lagos state-born lawmaker, Gbajabiamila.
But the North-central group in the letter argued that since the president is from the North-west, the vice-president is from the South-west and the Senate president has been zoned to North-east, the speaker must be zoned to North-central.
The letter partly read: “North-central should be rewarded for its performance in the 2019 election. With 2.4 million votes for President Muhammadu Buhari, North-central came third behind North-west and North-east.
“Even though South-west has the VP, it didn’t perform as well as NC in the last elections. So, who should be rewarded?
“North-central has consistently been loyal to the party. Since 1999, NC has never occupied the position of speaker or deputy speaker while all the other zones have occupied these positions.”