The All Progressives Congress, APC has used all tactics in the books to arrive at an amicable zoning formula that will bring peace to all concerned, but consensus
seems to be the most difficult commodity for the party now writes DOZIE EMMANUEL

LEADERS of the All
Progressives Congress, APC
gathered in Abuja over the
weekend to find a lasting
solution to what has become
an intractable party problem;
zoning National Assembly
position, but the solution still
eluded the party.
The party hid under the
guise of organizing a retreat
for its senators-elect in Abuja
to reach a consensus for who
takes what in the 8th National
Assembly, but the only
success the party recorded
was narrowing down the race
from the crowd of three to just
two, with the senate minority
leader, Senator George Akume
stepping down for Senator
Ahmed Lawan from Yobe.
Inside sources said Akume’s
decision to drop his ambition
is predicated on two factors;
the Tinubu and the PDP factor.
Though the presidentelect
has come out publicly
to declare that he has no
preferred candidate for the senate presidency, however
it is understood that his body
language is tilting towards
Ahmed Lawan. Insiders say
that he prefers Lawan because
he has known him right from
his ANPP days and Lawan
has remained steadfast in the
opposition since then. Buhari is
said not be favourably disposed
to the candidacy of both Akume
and Saraki because according to
insiders, they have been tainted
by the PDP.
According to Buhari, “I am
prepared to work with any
leaders that the House or Senate
selects. It doesn’t matter who the
person is or where he or she is
There is due process for
the selection of leaders of the
National Assembly and I will not
interfere with that process.”
Therefore, in order for Tinubu
not to be seen to be opposed
to the choice of the presidentelect,
he had to queue behind
him. Insiders say that any
disagreement between Tinubu
and the president-elect would
open up the party for more crisis
and this perhaps explains why Tinubu acquiesced to the choice
of the president-elect.
Also, Buhari and Tinubu
may have settled for Lawan,
prevailing on Akume to drop his
ambition in order to neautralise
the influence of Senator Bukola
Saraki who is believed to be
backed by PDP elements. While
Buhari is opposed to Saraki
for two disfiguring reasons;
his PDP background and his
questionable anti-corruption
credentials, Tinubu is said to
be opposed to Senator Saraki
because of his apparent desire to
have the speaker of the House of
In Tinubu’s calculation, it
would be difficult to have Saraki,
a Yoruba as the senate president
and still have another Yoruba as
speaker when another Yoruba
man is already the vice president.
With Tinubu’s firm support for
Femi Gbajabiamila to emerge the
speaker, any factor that would
knock out Senator Saraki would
be highly welcomed.
So the calculation is if Tinubu
backs Lawan, the president-elect
would be under obligation to get
his people mainly from North East and North West to back
Hon Femi Gbajabiamila for the
speaker’s position.
However, those in the know
believe that it would be the
mother of all fights between
the PDP elements who are
allegedly backing Saraki and
those in Tinubu’s camp who are
backing Lawan. Curiously, it is
not only PDP senators who are
sympathetic to the ambition of
Saraki, the APC bloc known as
the new PDP in APC principally
made up of the five defected
governors are said to be fully
backing Saraki.
This group led by the Kano
state governor and senator-elect,
Rabiu Kwankwaso has vowed
to slug it out Tinubu. Sources
say that the nPDP bloc know
that in all their previous fights
with Tinubu, they (nPDP) have
always come out defeated and
this has emboldened them and
they know that this is one fight
where they win or perish.
But the party has made bold
to say that zoning is not in its
The former acting National
Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, has said that
the party will not use zoning
to choose the next Senate
President because it is not in
the constitution of the party.
“Zoning is very, very strange
to the APC. There is no zoning
in our constitution. We don’t
want to copy the PDP in
whatever we are doing. We
have the best of brains and
culture among our leadership.
We want the best for Nigeria.
Because of this, we don’t want
to entertain zoning.
“It is true that sometime
after the general election, the
national chairman wanted to
toy with the idea of zoning
and unanimously we said no,
we don’t want to zone.
“We are talking about Senate
President. Once we pick the
Senate President, others would
follow suit and they will now
say, since the Senate President
is from so and so zone, then
the Deputy Senate President
can’t be from there; that he
should be from elsewhere.
But we must choose the best
person first.
“This can happen. We don’t
want to say Christian, Muslim
or Ibo or Yoruba. We want
to be careful, otherwise, we
won’t be able to produce the
best. We are trying to select
the best man. We don’t want
what brought the PDP down
(to bring us down).
However, how will the
latest development affect
the chances of Hon Yakubu
Dogara from the North East
who is in a pole position to
clinch the speakership seat. If
Senator Lawan from the same
zone as Hon Dogara emerges
as senate president, it makes
the chances of Dogara from
the same zone slimmer and to
analysts this works in favour
of Tinubu’s candidate, Femi
The days ahead promises to
bring more headaches to the
party as race for who takes
over the leadership of the
National Assembly hots up.

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