10th Assembly: Lawan, Adamu working against APC’s zoning

  • Lawan prefers Uzor Kalu

Ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, the Senate President Ahmad Lawan and the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Sen. Abdullahi Adamu are said to be working against the actualization of the party’s zoning arrangement for the Presiding Officers’ seats in the federal legislature, it was learnt.

While Lawan was said to have promised that he would never support Godswill Akpabio, the endorsed candidate of the APC for Senate President, Adamu is not happy that the North Central is left out in the sharing of presiding offices in the 10th Assembly.

It was learnt that Lawan prefers Orji Uzor Kalu, his main backer during the presidential primaries of the APC in June last year, as the next President of the Senate.

A few days to the APC’s presidential primary in June last year, Adamu announced to the members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC at a meeting that Lawan, who was among the aspirants, had been chosen by the presidency as the preferred candidate.

However, that did not fly as he was rebuffed and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the president-elect, went on to win the ticket squarely.

After the party’s victory during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections, a number of senators-elect and members-elect of the 10th House indicated interest to run for the Senate President and the Speaker of the House respectively.

After weeks of high-powered politicking and horse-trading, the NWC of the APC, after consultation with the president-elect, zoned the Senate President to the South South and adopted Sen. Godswill Akpabio as its preferred candidate and Sen. Jibrin Barau from Kano State (Northwest) as the preferred candidate for the Deputy Senate President.

The party also zoned the Speaker to the Northwest and adopted Tajudeen Abbas from Kaduna State as the preferred candidate and Benjamin Kalu from the Southeast as the chosen candidate for Deputy Speaker.

But Adamu and Lawan are said to be working in cahoots with others to scuttle that arrangement.

Abdullahi Adamu is reportedly miffed that his North Central zone is left with nothing from the National Assembly although he remains the national chairman of APC.

The APC National Chairman’s dislike for the party’s zoning arrangement came to fore when a team of about 200 lawmakers led by Tajudeen Abbas paid the party’s NWC a visit on Tuesday.

Adamu noted during the visit that Tajudeen is only one among many other aspirants contesting for speaker. He was emphatic that election for the Speakership would take place, and if Abbas wins, he would be sworn in.
“I want to correct something that was said here. A lot of you referred to Hon. Abbas as the Speaker, but he is only one of the aspirants.

“By the proclamation of the president, the Clerk to the National Assembly is going to conduct an election. There’s no any other way about it. There will be election. Once he’s elected, he’ll be sworn in by the clerk.

“The discussion we had with the president-elect, the people of the VP-elect, the Senate President and the Speaker, we arrived at a decision. We said it clearly in our statement that there is need for further consultations so that we go to the labour room well prepared. We should calm nerves and massage political egos. I, on behalf of my colleagues, without exception, wish you the best of luck,” Adamu said.

As for Lawan, he is reported to be more comfortable with Orji Kalu, who is his closest ally, to occupy the position of the Senate President with Abdulaziz Yari as the Deputy Senate President.

It was learnt that it is the APC National Chairman’s disposition to the issue that has emboldened members of the G7 speakership aspirants for the 10th House of Representatives and the likes of Yari in the Senate.

For example, when members of the G7 visited him on May 10 to lodge their complaint on the zoning formula, Adamu referred them to a paragraph in the press release announcing the arrangement, saying the party would look into their grievance, giving them hope of a possible review.

The paragraph read: “The NWC noted with respect the outcome of the meetings held between the President-elect and the leadership of the NWC. The NWC called for further and better consultation with necessary stakeholders in order to assure the support of the aspirants to the National Assembly leadership positions and members of the party nationwide.”

The above paragraph, it was learnt, was inserted into the press statement to give room for a possible review.

APC senators-elect and members-elect of the 10th Assembly who are bent on scuttling the APC’s zoning arrangement are said to be banking on Lawan and Adamu.

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