The leadership tussle in the National Assembly is about to take an interesting dimension following a meeting between President Bola Tinubu and the duo of Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, at the Presidential Villa on Thursday.
The meeting was held to find an amicable solution to the issue of the zoning arrangement of the principal offices in the two chambers of the federal parliament, which was already creating tension among the lawmakers. President Tinubu gave a definite assignment to Lawan and Gbajabiamila to ensure that double nomination was avoided in both chambers on June 13.
However, the presiding officers told the President that there was no way a zoning arrangement which excludes the North Central and gave two slots to the North West would work. The Senate Democratic Caucus and other groups also met to discuss the issue.
It will be recalled that Tinubu and the National Working Committee of the APC had zoned the position of the Senate President to the South-south and specifically endorsed Godswill Akpabio as its candidate with Senator Barau Jibrin as deputy. But some members had objected to the action of the APC’s leadership and vowed to contest against the Akpabio/Jibrin ticket on Inauguration Day.
Former governor Segun Osoba and former Nigeria Ambassador to Ghana, Musiliu Obanikoro, urged the anointed aspirants to reach out to the aggrieved ones in order to find an amicable solution to the issue. However, the Director General of the Akpabio/Jibrin Stability Group, Senator Ali Ndume, disagreed with Obanikoro’s suggestion.
The National Assembly is a critical institution, and the President wants to avoid all forms of distractions and ill-feelings among members-elect of the 10th National Assembly so that he can concentrate on the onerous task of providing good governance. The APC has the highest number of members in both chambers, and it was the President’s opinion that the leadership must not be imposed.
Lawan and Gbajabiamila have asked all aspirants to put their houses in order to avoid rancor on the day of inauguration. The APC’s leadership has zoned the positions, and it is hoped that all aspirants will support the choice of the party without any hitch.