THISDAY’s investigation reveals that the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) appears to have devised a zoning formula for the election of the presiding officers of the 10th National Assembly prior to its inauguration in June 2023.
According to reports, the ruling party is currently awaiting the return of President-elect Bola Tinubu to make a final judgement on the topic.
This comes as significant signs continue to suggest that the South-South and South-East are the most likely regions to produce the Senate President.
THISDAY learned over the weekend that the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) has already drafted the zoning criteria for the selection of the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, House Speaker, and Deputy Speaker from among the returning members of the two chambers.
At a recent meeting, the party’s NWC agreed on a pattern for selecting the presiding officers of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The party’s national leader and incoming president, Tinubu, is awaiting his feedback.
A member of the APC’s National Working Committee (NWC) revealed to THISDAY on Saturday night that the party’s leadership has devised a mechanism for allocating the major officers of the next National Assembly.
“No one in the party has been sleeping. Before the governorship elections, consultations began, and a proposed template is now complete and will be offered to the President-elect,” he stated.
He told THISDAY that the party is looking to the south-south and south-east for the position of Senate President.
In the last few days, it was learned that senators from the two zones have intensified their lobbying at the leadership level of the party by selling their nomination to the leaders and members of the NWC.
Tinubu travelled to Saudi Arabia for lesser hajj from the United Kingdom last month and is currently supposed to be in Paris, France, where he is holding consultations on his proposed cabinet prior to his inauguration on May 29, 2023.
THISDAY has learned that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Saturday evening, Femi Gbajabiamila, who had joined him earlier in France, also broke the Ramadan fast with him.
Tinubu indicated before to his departure that he had no favourite candidates for the leadership of both chambers.
Tinubu, who was represented at the meeting with the newly-elected members of the National Assembly by the Vice President-elect Kashim Shettima, shared this information.
Only the South-west and North-east zones, which produced the President-elect and Vice President-elect, are excluded from competing for the leadership of the legislative branch of government, according to the proposed zoning system.
Even though the South-east and South-south regions are favoured, candidates from the North-west and North-central regions are also allowed to run for Senate President and Deputy Senate President.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has 27 Senators-elect, while the APC has 57. The Labour Party has eight seats, the NNPP and SDP each won two, and APGA and YPP each won one.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared eight senate elections inconclusive; they will be completed on April 15, 2023.
Some Senators-elect have already declared their intent to run for the presidency of the tenth Senate. These include the Senate Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (South-east); former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio (South-South); Senator Sani Musa (North-central); Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman, Senator Barau Jibrin (North-west); former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari (North-west); and outgoing Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi (North-west) (South-east).
Senator Orji Kalu, a former governor of Abia State and a candidate for Senate President, visited the State House in Abuja last week to seek President Muhammadu Buhari’s support for his quest.
After a closed-door meeting with the President at the State House, Kalu told the press that he informed the President of his desire to run for the number three position in Nigeria.