Nigeria’s President-elect, Senator Bola Tinubu, on Saturday returned to the country eight days before the inauguration of his administration to drive the implementation of the zoning of the National Assembly leadership by the ruling APC.
The incoming President had spent a week in Europe.
While abroad, Tinubu met with former Kano Governor and presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, and the former Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi.
The meeting has generated tension, with some Kano APC chieftains kicking against any attempt by Tinubu to appoint Kwankwaso into his cabinet.
Governor Umar Ganduje of Kano had also expressed reservations over the meeting as was heard in a leaked audio conversation.
Ganduje was, however, among the dignitaries who went to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja airport to welcome Tinubu back home.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, Vice-President-elect, Kashim Shettima, and Akpabio, were among those who welcomed Tinubu.
The president-elect returned amid the storm generated by the endorsement of some lawmakers as leaders of the 10th National Assembly by the APC.
During a protest by the aggrieved aspirants, the National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu had said the zoning of the National Assembly leadership positions would be reviewed.
However, the review could not be carried out in Tinubu’s absence.
Tinubu’s strategists have however insisted that the current zoning would stand.
They argued that any attempt to tinker with the present zoning arrangements would create more controversies and expose the ruling party to ridicule.
With Tinubu’s return, he is expected to rein in dissident members and drive the final zoning arrangements by the party to ensure a stable National Assembly that would not destablise his administration.
Constitution will Prevail over Party’s Zoning, Says Jimoh Ibrahim
On his part, a Senator-elect from the Ondo South senatorial district, Jimoh Ibrahim, has said his colleagues would follow the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution, and not zoning arrangements, to elect their presiding officers.
Ibrahim said: “The leadership of the 10th National Assembly is about constitutional provisions. We were elected to protect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Section 50 of the constitution says “Senators-Elect shall select one, among them to preside over the affairs of the Senate.
“Any other thing contrary to the provisions of the Constitution is to the extent of its contradiction, inconsistency, void, and of no effect. That’s where we stand.
“Once the constitutional provisions are obeyed, it is the bedrock of democracy. It is the ground norm of what we need to do.
“The presiding officers’ positions could be zoned to anybody but the Constitution in Section 50 says, ‘one among the senators-elect shall be elected among them to preside over the affairs of the Senate.”
“We cannot do anything beyond the provisions of the constitution. That is what we would do.
“Section 1(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria establishes the supremacy of the Constitution above any other Act of Parliament that is inconsistent with the Constitution shall be declared void,” Ibrahim explained.