Indications have emerged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) may review its zoning formula.
The decision, LEADERSHIP gathered, is fallout of the recent parley between the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and presidential candidate of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, in Paris, France, recently.
Revelations from the meeting indicate that North Central might be considered for the deputy Senate president position as against the North West which was earlier picked by the APC for the position.
APC had announced its zoning formula which favoured minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godwill Akpabio, (South South) as Senate president and Tajudeen Abbas (North West) as Speaker of House of Representatives for the 10th National Assembly.
The meeting between Tinubu and Kwankwaso had caused an upset within the camp of Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, who had been at loggerheads with his predecessor, Kwankwaso.
The protracted power tussle culminated in the recent governorship election where Kwankwaso’s NNPP gained political control of the state by producing the next governor.
It was however gathered that at the meeting with Tinubu in France, Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano State, made a case for the North Central to be considered for the deputy Senate president, following the agitation that trailed the zoning formula of the party which excluded the region.
Kwankwaso’s gesture, it was learnt, is aimed at ensuring he enjoys smooth access to the president-elect.
Senator Barau, APC’s pick for the deputy Senate president, is Senator-elect for Kano North, and enjoys the support of Ganduje.
With the likely altering of the APC zoning formula, it was learnt that Senator Sani Musa from Niger State in the North Central geopolitical zone, might be considered for the deputy Senate president slot.
A member-elect who confided in our correspondents said, “Our outing today at the APC headquarters was very encouraging and we are more determined to drive home our point that Abbass possesses the qualities to lead us.
“So, our plan now is to ensure we are well fortified in one accord to go into the chamber because we cannot say exactly what the chambers will dictate. But in case of any unexpected thing, we will nominate a southerner who is a strong supporter of Abbas to take the chair of the lower chamber.
“We are not in shortage of people so the opposition cannot take anything from us. We will definitely go to the South south and we have the likes of Professor Julius Ihonvbere who is well respected by all. We can immediately put him forward to balance the whole thing as a plan B.
“Remember that we did it in 2015. Majority of us from the north wanted Gbajabiamila against Dogara but when Saraki emerged as senate president, we had to change our game immediately in the chambers so that two persons of the same ethnic group would not preside over the National Assembly. That was how Dogara emerged by surprise”.
With the prospect of Yari causing an upset in the Senate, a plan B is already in the works to ensure a southerner emerges to replace the Hon Tajudeen Abbas who hails from the North West.
Another source who spoke with LEADERSHIP said, “If Yari wins, it would leave a serious issue – two Muslims leading NASS aside being two Northerners. So that informed the need for the group to prop a Plan B in case that happens. They will immediately and swiftly, switch to South for Speaker. It’s a case of finding regional and religious balance.”
Meanwhile, a Northern group in the forefront of the 2023 election campaigns for the APC, Tinubu/Shettima for Greater Nigeria (TSGN) has called on president -elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to ignore insinuations in some quarters that members of the G-7, a group made of aspirants for the leadership of the next House of Representatives, were against him.
A statement signed by national president of the Association, Mallam Negedu Miringi, and national secretary, Comrade Suleiman Ahmed, said, “G-7 are Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s men who want him to succeed. They are the ones that really worked for his emergence as the Presidential candidate of APC and his subsequent victory at the general elections proper. They contributed resources and took risk for him.
“Most of those aspirants delivered their constituencies to Tinubu at the poll against all odds. Some even worked against their brothers who contested in other political parties to ensure that Tinubu and APC win their constituencies and senatorial zones.”
In a related development the APC online media outfit, the APC NewsOnline Television, has analysed the chances of all the aspirants for the position of Senate president in the coming 10th National Assembly.
In the analysis, the news medium presented Senator Osita Izunaso as the only aspirant without a baggage and possessing the best qualifications in terms of legislative experience, intellectual capacity and commitment to the party.
“After carrying out a strategic nationwide polling of Nigerian professionals, politicians and media practitioners on their legislative expectations for the next four years found a growing acceptance that while southeast should produce the Senate president, the Senator-elect from Imo West, a long time APC strategist should mount the rostrum of the red chambers,” it stated.
The president-elect was said to have made up his mind to tinker with the unpopular zoning formula and come up with a new one that would enhance national cohesion.