Bola Tinubu, the President-elect, and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress may have agreed to review the allocation arrangements for the 10th National Assembly leadership. According to reports, the decision was made after Tinubu met with a few of the candidates shortly after his return from France on Saturday. The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and Senator Sani Musa, among others, reportedly conferred with Tinubu separately. Wase, who was vying for the position of speaker of the House of Representatives, was the first to meet Asiwaju, according to a source at Tinubu’s residence.
However, Wase departed without saying goodbye to his colleagues after his closed-door meeting with Tinubu. “Wase’s demeanour changed as soon as he emerged from the meeting with Tinubu, as it was reliably reported that Asiwaju had proposed to nominate him as a cabinet minister, indicating that their discussion had not gone well. “We were shocked that he didn’t even stop by to greet his other coworkers,” he said. The source added that other aspirants who met with Tinubu emerged in high spirits after their conversation with the president-elect, but refused to comment before leaving. Further investigation revealed that the APC leadership and the president-elect had agreed in principle to evaluate the zoning arrangements announced by the party the week prior.
According to sources, the recent disagreement between Tinubu and Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje over Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s visit to Paris may have revealed the ulterior motives behind certain decisions and advice given to the president-elect by some northern governors. According to a source, their advice on the issue of National Assembly leadership positions “could be described as self-serving and not representative of the views of the majority. Such advice is a matter of zoning, and this could cost the North West one of the two presiding officer positions that had been allocated to it,” he added. Currently, two presiding officers’ positions – Speaker of the House of Representatives and Deputy President of the Senate – are zoned to the North West, while the South-south and South-east each received one; this has cast the party into disarray.
The North Central geopolitical zone was omitted from the zoning arrangements entirely. Another source at Tinubu’s residence confirmed that the zoning arrangements would be reviewed. The meeting between Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso in France revealed the true reasons why the All Progressives Congress (APC) lost both the presidential and governorship elections in Kano State. After the meeting between Asiwaju and Kwankwaso, the candidates who stood for governor in the state’s last general election under the APC banner contacted Tinubu.
“They claimed that Ganduje did not provide them with financial and logistical support prior to and on election day. They added that Senator Barau Jibrin was able to secure his senate seat because he had sufficient resources to campaign.” The source added that the candidates lamented to Asiwaju that they were unable to raise sufficient funds to even mobilise agents to polling stations on Election Day. As a consequence of the revelation and subsequent audio leak involving Ganduje and Ibrahim Masari, the former vice presidential candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC), in which they discussed the meeting between Tinubu and Kwankwaso, the presidential candidate for the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP).
Ganduje was quoted in an intercepted phone conversation as saying, “Even if Tinubu grants Kwankwaso an audience, it should be in our presence. We ought to be invited. Did you understand? Even if it is only symbolic” it was learnt that Tinubu was displeased with Ganduje’s outburst and that he had decided to base the allocation arrangements for National Assembly leadership positions on the performance of each geopolitical zone in the last election. Another source who witnessed all of Saturday night’s activities at the president-elect’s residence explained that Tinubu had stated that the North Central should not be excluded from the zoning arrangements. “Tinubu informed all candidates that the decision to zone the offices will be reconsidered in order to achieve a balance.
As a substantive no. 4 office, the speakership will presumably be located in the North West, as it ranks above the Deputy Senate President in the hierarchy. “There are strong indications that the president-elect will compensate the North Central with a presiding officer, as he has stated that all regions besides the South West and the North East must generate a Presiding Officer. “Tinubu believed that it would be unfair to deny the North Central a position as presiding officer despite the impressive number of votes he received from the region during the presidential election,” the source explained.