Buhari Opposes APC On Zoning Of NASS Leadership | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Buhari Opposes APC On Zoning Of NASS Leadership

Posted: May 14, 2015 at 7:40 am   /   by   /   comments (0)
President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari (middle) and Vice President-elect, Yemi Osinbajo (right), when former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, paid a congratulatory visit to them in Abuja on Wednesday.

President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari (middle) and Vice President-elect, Yemi Osinbajo (right), when former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, paid a congratulatory visit to them in Abuja on Wednesday.

•Ready To Work With Anyone

•Blair Pledges Support For New Govt


By Rotimi Akinwumi 



Following the inability of the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to resolve the challenges of zoning the leadership of the National Assembly, the plan may be dropped eventually and the lawmakers allowed to freely choose their leaders.

A dependable source within the party told Daily Independent in confidence yesterday that President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari has withdrawn his support from the planned zoning arrangements being considered by the party leaders.

According to our source, the President-elect has told his close confidants that he is tired of the negative comments and dirty politicking members of the parliament and their sponsors outside the chambers are throwing into the game.

It was also gathered that Buhari has conveyed his decision to the party leaders, urging them not to adopt any zoning arrangement, but allow lawmakers across the 36 states of the federation who will form the eigth Assembly determine those to be their leaders, irrespective of what zone such a person emerges from.

Aspirants to the offices of the Senate President and the Speaker, House of Representatives have been battling openly for the top jobs. While three aspirants have shown interest in the Senate Presidency, over four persons are vying for the Speakership seat.

Aside from the South East, all other zones have at least one aspirant eyeing either of the seats in the Senate and House of Representatives.

The party’s National Working Committee and some of its leaders have had sleepless nights trying to work out an acceptable sharing arrangement among the geo-political zones on who should take what in the parliament.

While the leadership favour zoning of the Senate President’s seat to the North Central, the bitter battle for adoption as consensus candidate has torn apart former Kwara State Governor, Senator Bukola Saraki and his counterpart from Benue, George Akume, both ranking members of the upper chamber.

However, some stakeholders from the North East geopolitical zone routing for Senator Ahmed Lawan are also insisting that the zone be allowed to produce Senator David Mark’s successor.

Some party leaders who are sympathetic to the cause of the North East, are showing open support for the aspiration of the zone, even as the possibility of clinching the plum job has also further polarised members from the area.

Despite the fact that the party has not adopted the zoning arrangement officially, and no candidate adopted yet, Senators from the North East have ganged up against Lawan’s aspiration, denying at a press conference that he (Lawan) had been adopted as consensus candidate for the number three job.

The same dirty game is playing out in the House of Reps, where Femi Gbajabiamila, Yakubu Dogara and Abdulmumin Jibrin, candidates from the South West, North East, North West respectively, are trying to outwit one another in the bid to becoming the Speaker.

With the APC openly divided, there were rumours of plans by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to take advantage on the lack of unity to present its own candidate and snatch the seats in both chambers.

Elections of presiding officers are determined by simple majority vote.

There is also no standing rule that makes it mandatory for the presiding officer to emerge from the party with the highest number of members.

Yesterday also, Buhari was forced to issue a statement denouncing adoption of any candidate for the Senate President seat.

A camp of one of the aspirants for the Senate Presidency alleged that the President-elect had indeed annointed him for the job.

Buhari in a statement by his media team denied supporting any attempt to zone the seat to any geopolitical zone, or adopt any particular candidate for the seat.

In the statement, Buhari was quoted as saying categorically that he is willing to work with any leader of the Senate, irrespective of what part of the country he or she originates from.

He described as false, insinuations in the media that he belonged to any camp pushing for the emergence of a leader from a particular part of the country.

“I am prepared to work with any leaders that the House or Senate selects. It doesn’t matter who the person is or where he or she is from.

“There is due process for the selection of leaders of the National Assembly, and I will not interfere in that process.

“Nigeria has indeed entered a new dispensation. My administration does not intend to repeat the same mistakes made by previous governments,” he said.

Meanwhile, former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, on Wednesday paid Buhari a courtesy visit, where he assured him of international support for the incoming government.

Addressing newsmen after a closed-door meeting, Blair commended Nigeria for the successful general elections, saying that the country has earned global respect.

He noted that there is enormous support for Nigeria now in the international community, taking into consideration the challenges that lie ahead and that there is great confidence in the country.

“This is an election which took place in a way which the country show the majority of democracies the spirit and character of its people and in the President elect and Vice President elect, it is a leadership that I know is determined to do its best for the country.

“Obviously, the future and destiny of Nigeria lies in the hand of its people. I just want to say to the President elect that there is tremendous support for you and the country at this moment and all of us, in what ever way

“If the same spirit and character that define the election can be taken through these coming years to address the challenges, I think we can all have great confidence in the times ahead.”

Responding, the President-elect, said the meeting discussed how Britain and the United States would help ensure that Nigerians conducted themselves according to the constitution.

“The fact that the election has been so successful is a major relief for us and to all people of conscience throughout the world. I thank the former British Prime Minister for his concern for Nigeria and Nigerians, in what he is prepared to do by continuing to help us as a country and as a people”.