The leadership of the All Progressives Congress and the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, might have agreed to review the zoning arrangements for the 10th National Assembly leadership.
THISDAY findings have revealed that the decision was taken following a meeting Tinubu had with a few of the aspirants shortly after he arrived from France on Saturday.
It was learnt that aspirants, including the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and Senator Sani Musa, among others, met separately with Tinubu.
A source at Tinubu’s residence explained that Wase, who was contesting the position of the speaker of the House of Representatives, was the first to meet Asiwaju but that he left without saying goodbye to his colleagues after his behind-the-door encounter with Tinubu.
“Wase’s countenances changed the moment he emerged from the meeting with Tinubu, as it was reliably gathered that Asiwaju offered to nominate him as a cabinet minister, suggesting that all was not well with their discussion. He didn’t even stop by to greet his other colleagues and we were very surprised,” he said.
The source added that other aspirants, who met with Tinubu emerged after their discussion with the president-elect in high spirit but refused to make comments before they all left.
Further findings revealed that the leadership of the APC and the president-elect had agreed in principle to review the zoning arrangements, which the party released penultimate week.
According to sources, the latest displeasure between Tinubu and the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, regarding Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s Paris visit, might have exposed the ulterior motives behind certain decisions and advice some northern governors gave to the president-elect.
Their advice on the issue of National Assembly leadership positions, according to a source, “can very well be described as selfish and not the true reflection of the views of majority.Such advice is the issue of zoning and this might cost the North West, one of the two presiding officers’ positions, which had already been zoned to it,” he added.
At the moment, the North West has two presiding officers’ positions – Speaker of the House of Representatives and Deputy President of the Senate – zoned to it while both the South-south and South-East got one each and this had thrown the party in disarray.
The North Central geopolitical zone was completely left out in the zoning arrangements.
Another source at Tinubu’s residence also confirmed the planned to review the zoning arrangements.
“The meeting between Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso in France had revealed the real reasons, the APC lost both the presidential and governorship elections in Kano State. After the meeting between Asiwaju and Kwankwaso, the aspirants who contested the last general election in the state on the platform of the APC also got in touch with Tinubu.
“They alleged that Ganduje did not support them with funds and logistics before and on the day of the election. They added that Senator Barau Jibrin was able to win his senatorial seat because he had enough resources to prosecute his election.”
The source also explained that the aspirants lamented to Asiwaju, how they could not raise enough funds to even mobilise agents to polling units on the Election Day.
As a result of the revelation and the subsequent audio leak involving Ganduje and Ibrahim Masari, former vice presidential placeholder candidate of the APC, where they both discussed the meeting between Tinubu and Kwankwaso, the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP).
Ganduje had in the leaked phone conversation said, “The right thing is that even if he (Tinubu) will grant Kwankwaso audience, it should be in our presence. We should be invited. Did you understand? Even if it is symbolically.”
The outburst of Ganduje, THISDAY learnt, did not go down well with Tinubu, who was now said to have decided to base the zoning arrangements of National Assembly leadership positions on the performances of each geopolitical zone in the last election.
Another source, who witnessed all activities at the residence of the president-elect on Saturday night, explained that Tinubu had said the North Central should not be left out in the zoning arrangements.
“Tinubu told all the aspirants that the decision to zone the offices will be looked in to so as to bring a balance. The speakership will likely be in the North West as it is a substantive no 4 office higher than the Deputy Senate President in hierarchy.
“There are very strong indications that the president-elect, will do the needful to compensate the North Central with a presiding officer because he declared that all zones apart from the South West and the North East should produce a Presiding Officer.
“Tinubu was of the opinion that it would be unfair to deny the North Central, a presiding officer position despite the impressive volume of votes he got from the zone during the presidential election,” the source added.
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