APC Awaits Tinubu’s Return Before Zoning N’Assembly Leadership

* South-south, South-east favoured to produce Senate president

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) appears to have worked out a zoning formula for the election of the presiding officers of the 10th National Assembly ahead of its inauguration in June 2023, THISDAY’s investigation has revealed.

The ruling party, it was learnt, is now awaiting the return of the President-elect, Senator Bola Tinubu, for a final decision on the matter.
This is coming as strong indications have continued to show that the South-south and South-east are favoured to produce the Senate President.
THISDAY gathered at the weekend that the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) already has a draft of the zoning formula for the selection of the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, House Speaker, and Deputy Speaker, among the returning members of the two chambers.

It was learnt that the party’s NWC at a recent meeting agreed on the template for choosing the presiding officers of both the Senate and the House of Representatives but is only waiting for input from the national leader of the party and President-elect, Tinubu.
A member of the NWC of the APC, who spoke to THISDAY last night, disclosed that the party’s leadership has worked out a proposed formula for sharing the principal officers of the incoming National Assembly.
“The party has not been sleeping. Consultations started before the governorship elections and a proposed template is ready and will be presented to the President-elect,” he said.
He told THISDAY that for the office of the Senate President, the party is looking in the direction of South-south and South-east.
It was learnt that the senators from the two zones have stepped up their lobby at the level of the party’s leadership by selling their candidature to the leaders and members of the NWC in the last few days.

Tinubu had last month travelled to Saudi Arabia for lesser hajj from the United Kingdom and is said to be in Paris, France at the moment, where he is said to be holding consultative meetings on his proposed cabinet ahead of his inauguration on May 29, 2023.
THISDAY gathered that the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who joined him earlier yesterday in France, also broke the Ramadan fast with him in the evening.

Before he travelled, Tinubu had revealed that he had no preferred candidates for the leadership of both chambers.
Tinubu, who was represented by the Vice President-elect, Kashim Shettima, disclosed this at the meeting with the new members-elect of the National Assembly.
It was gathered that in the proposed zoning formula, only the South-west and the North-east zones which produced the President-elect and Vice President-elect, respectively, are exempted from vying for the leadership of the legislative arm of government.
Though the South-east and South-south are said to be favoured, the North-west and North-central zones are also eligible to vie for Senate President and Deputy Senate President.
The APC currently has 57 Senators-elect as against 27 by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while the Labour Party has eight seats, NNPP and SDP got two seats each while APGA and YPP won a seat each.

Eight senatorial elections have been declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and are to be concluded on April 15, 2023.
Already, some Senators-elect have made public their intention to vie for the Presidency of the 10th Senate. They include Senate Chief Whip,
Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (South-east); former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio (South-South); Senator Sani Musa (North-central); Chairman of Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Barau Jibrin (North-west); former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari (North-west) and outgoing Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi (South-east).

Just last week, a former Governor of Abia State and a contender for the position of Senate President, Senator Orji Kalu was at the State House in Abuja to solicit the support of President Muhammadu Buhari for his ambition.
Kalu told journalists after a closed-door meeting with the President at the State House that he briefed him about his intention to vie for the number three in Nigeria.

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