- SARAKI, GOJE, PDP DEFECTORS KNOCKED OUT OF NASS RACE
The raging and lingering in-house fighting over political positions and offices within the All Progressives Congress, APC, few weeks to inauguration of the Muhammadu Buhari presidency, appears not to have an immediate solution in sight.
The party leaders are still in dilemma over how to share political offices across board.
Not too long ago, the party hierarchy defied plans to jet out of Nigeria to an undisclosed foreign country to fine tune the zoning arrangement and policy framework of the incoming government, following mounting pressures from party members but yielded to wise counsel that it will not tell well on the image of an administration that preaches corruption to be seen holding political meetings outside the country.
As it is, the party is said to have dropped options widely canvassed in the media by the various zones who see themselves more qualified than the others in the manner they claim votes were secured for Buhari’s victory.
A prominent southern governor, who participated actively in ensuring that Major General Muhammadu Buahri was elected, lamented the infighting within the APC and admitted that the development has taken both religious and tribal dimensions.
“We fought Jonathan and defeated him. We are now fighting ourselves over positions” he stated.
The governor, who asked not to be named, expressed shock over the ethnic and religious coloration that the issue of political office/positions has assumed in the party, noting that such development does not augur well for the survival of the party.
“As I speak now, I also don’t know what position the party will offer me and those from my zone despite the mobilization and support that we gave Buhari from the same zone that some people in the party, especially those from the North are now saying we didn’t give the president-elect at least 50 percent score”.
He however disclosed that though the elections have been won on the ‘Change Slogan’ of the party; there is no amount of miracle from the incoming administration that will change things overnight, except patience and support, because much is needed to be done.
The APC, which is at crossroads over the zones and personalities to become Senate President, Speaker, House of Representatives and Secretary to Government of the Federation, is reported to be under severe pressure by those who financed the campaigns of the President-elect to accept their nominees.
The development, insiders told Nigerian Pilot Sunday is being rejected by other party stalwarts, particularly from the Northern zones, like the North East whose claims for either slots is centered on the devastation by insurgency in the area and the consistency in votes not only cast during the general election that saw to Buhari’s emergence as president but as a reliable opposition and one of the Legacy parties that transmuted into APC.
While the zones put up their various arguments, the South/South on its own argue that notwithstanding the fact that it currently produced the Party’s chairman, efforts deployed by Governors Adams Oshiomhole and Rotimi Amaechi of Edo and Rivers states respectively, in ensuring Buhari’s victory at the centre, is worthy to be rewarded with the position of the Speaker or Secretary to Government, or at least with the position of Deputy Speaker.
But the drums of war appear more audible at the National Assembly as the scramble for both positions in the House and Senate heats up.
Indications are there that the law makers may defy the zoning arrangement of the party if it is not properly done.
Nigerian Pilot Sunday gathered that the national leadership of the APC has limited the search for the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives to only founding members of the party from the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP, and the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.
According to dependable sources in the party, leaders of APC resolved to reward those that took the risk of the merger to avoid discontent within the party.
Our source disclosed that the APC is looking in the direction of members of the defunct ANPP for the plum senate job.
According to him, “The defunct CPC has gotten the presidency and the ACN got the slot of the Vice President. It is the ANPP that is yet to get any top slot and that is why the party leaders are looking in the direction of any of the senators from the party that is in the race for the senate presidency.”
He stressed that this was one of the reasons the national leader of the party, Ashiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu made a u-turn in his support for former governor of Benue State, Senator George Akume, who came into the APC through the ACN.
He acknowledged that this arrangement has automatically knocked out Senator Bukola Saraki, Senator Danjuma Goje and others that defected to the APC from the PDP.
Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Ahmad Sani, told newsmen in Abuja that the National Assembly was now made up of more independent minded individuals who hold national interests above that of the party.
He recalled that Hon. Aminu Tambuwal was not the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the position of Speaker, but he was elected by members all the same.
According to him, if the APC does not zone the seat correctly, the senators may defy it and vote the right candidate.
Sani said: “Zoning is a party matter: It is not a Senate matter: The senators can decide to vote for the best candidate that they think will lead them more effectively and efficiently.
Continuing, Sani told this paper that “Party can make its zoning; and if they don’t zone it correctly and it is not acceptable to the National Assembly members, they can decide to conduct an election and elect the candidate they think will properly lead them.”
The same view is held at the House of Representatives, where most of those in the race cut across various zones. From the same North West, as the President-elect, Dr Jibrin Miminu from Kano is unrelenting. Femi Gbajabiamila from South West, the same zone as the Vice president–elect, Prof Osinbajo wants to be speaker. Similarly, Honorable Yakubu Dogara, a member from Bauchi state North East Nigeria is eyeing the position of the speaker.