….Coalition backs North-Central Senate presidency*
Barring any last-minute change, the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will meet with the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima; senators-elect and members of the House of Representatives-elect on its platform, today at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
This was disclosed by the APC National Secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore, in an invitation sent to Tinubu, Shettima and the lawmakers-elect.
While the meeting is scheduled for 2:00p.m., invited guests were directed to be seated before 12noon, two hours before commencement of the parley.
The guests were also urged to come alone and with the Certificates of Return issued to them by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after they were declared winners in the February 25 polls.
“The meeting is strictly on invitation. All invited guests are expected to arrive early to allow for screening and be seated before 12noon,” the notice stated.
Though agenda of the meeting was not stated, a source who craved anonymity, said the meeting is connected with the leadership of the 10th National Assembly that will be inaugurated in June.
Also to be discussed are issues of zoning of the Senate presidency, Speaker of the House of Representatives and other offices in the National Assembly, such as the Deputy President of the Senate; Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives and eight principal positions in both the upper and lower chambers.
The source explained that APC is trying to avoid a situation that played out in 2015, where Senator Bukola Saraki emerged as Senate President against the party’s wish.
Saraki, who represented Kwara Central Senatorial District in the eighth Assembly, emerged as Senate President when 51 APC senators were at the International Conference Centre waiting for a truce meeting reportedly called by the leadership of the party and President Muhammadu Buhari.
He was elected unanimously by 57 senators present at the session and sworn into office on June 9, 2015 with Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as Deputy Senate President.
Meanwhile, indications have emerged that ahead of the zoning of offices of presiding officers for the National Assembly, crisis may be looming in the ruling party as calls for the immediate resignation from office by the National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, heighten.
A group under the aegis of Civil Society Organisations of Conference of Nigeria Civil Rights Activists (CNCRA) has asked Adamu, to, as a matter of urgency, obey calls for his resignation in the interest of equity, fairness and justice, just as it said that his resignation would assuage the feelings of Christians.
The group, in a statement signed yesterday in Abuja by its convener, Pastor Ifeanyi Odili, and Secretary, Sina Akadiri, it said Adamu’s exit, as APC National Chairman, would ensure power balancing in the incoming Tinubu-led administration.
According to the group, Adamu’s resignation would also be a great opportunity for APC to assuage the feelings of Christians towards the same faith arrangement of the party in the recently concluded presidential election.
The group also hailed the National Vice Chairman, Northwest of APC, Salihu Mohammed Lukman, on his call for power balancing in the incoming APC-led government and his call for the resignation of Adamu.
Recall that Lukman had at the weekend advocated for the replacement of Adamu with a Christian, as part of measures to balance the incoming administration of Tinubu.
As the jostle for allocation of National Assembly leadership gets intense ahead of May 29 inauguration of the new government, the President-elect is being prevailed upon to support the Southeast for the Senate presidency.
Tinubu is billed to table the issue of ceding the seat to the Southeast geopolitical zone at the parley with APC leadership and lawmakers-elect today.
Among those touted to occupy the seat is former Abia State governor and Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
APC founding member, Osita Okechukwu, who confirmed the development, argued that the move was in tandem with the need to entrench equity and fairness in the polity.
Two other APC Senators-elect, Osita Izunaso (Imo) and outgoing Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, are billed to contest the seat with Kalu, notwithstanding his ranking status in the upper legislative chamber.
He said: “It’s strategic to zone the President of the Senate to Southeast, based on equity, fairness and natural justice. Nigeria is on a tripod and since Southeast didn’t get the president or vice, it becomes strategic to start a process of reconciliation and recovery with the zone.
“Agreed, Southeast didn’t vote for the APC; however, the leadership must think of tomorrow. Luckily, we have three Senators-elect, two of whom are in the ranking cadre – Kalu and Izunaso. Let’s choose one of them.
“At least, nobody will blame us that it’s because we did not have any Senator, which was the case in 2015. We, the foundation members of APC, need to be accommodated by our brothers and sisters in other geopolitical zones.”