NASS LEADERSHIP: Contenders lobby Tinubu for endorsement

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  • President-elect meets Betara behind closed doors

  • Receives Adamu, Okorocha, others at Defence House
  • Uba Group


  • S’West coalition endorses Musa for Senate Presidency

  • N’West, N’Central, S’South, S’East intensify strategy

Ahead of the June 13, 2023 inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, top contenders for various positions have intensified lobbying as they besieged the residence of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday.

Also, barring any last-minute change of plan, The Point has gathered that the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress would release its zoning plan for leadership positions in the 10th National Assembly before the end of this week.

While waiting for the pronouncement on the zoning of offices by the ruling APC, contenders are reaching out to those who matter in the political entity.

One of the leading aspirants for the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aliyu Berata, on Wednesday met with Tinubu behind closed doors.

Betara, who is representing Biu/Bayo/Shani/Kwaya Kusar Federal Constituency in Borno State, met with Tinubu at the Defence House in Abuja.

A video of Betara’s visit to the President-elect, which was released to journalists by his media office on Wednesday, showed Tinubu holding the hand of the lawmaker and leading him into an inner office for a private discussion, in the presence of stakeholders in the ruling All Progressives Congress.

According to Betara’s office, the meeting with the President-elect was with a view to “extracting his support and endorsement.”

Tinubu had on Wednesday met with some APC leaders and governors as well as members-elect of the Senate and the House who are aspiring for various leadership positions in the coming 10th National Assembly.

A lawmaker at the meeting, who spoke to journalists on the condition of anonymity, however, noted that the President-elect held different meetings with the stakeholders.

Videos and photographs of visitors at the Defence House have shown Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila; Chairman of the House Committee on Finance/Secretary of the disbanded All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, James Faleke; and Chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson, on the House side.

On the Senate side were President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; Senators Olamilekan Adeola (APC/Lagos), Tokunbo Abiru (APC/Lagos), Opeyemi Bamidele (APC/Ekiti), Barau Jibrin (APC/Kano); and former Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio (APC/Akwa Ibom), among others.

Akpabio and Jibrin are both gunning for the seat of the President of the Senate.

There were also Governors Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, and Abiodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State as well as the National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu.

Another video released by Betara’s media office showed Tinubu exchanging pleasantries and taking photographs with Lawan, Abiodun; Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa; outgoing members of the House, Babajide Obanikoro (APC/Lagos) and Abubakar Lado (APC/Niger), among others.

“CBN"

Aspirants for the Office of the Speaker in the 10th Assembly, some of whom have yet to officially declare their ambitions, are now over 10. They are seeking to succeed the incumbent Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, who has also been reelected for a sixth term.

The contenders include the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase; embattled Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; Chairman of the House Committee on Navy, Yusuf Gagdi; Chairman, House Committee on Appropriations, Aliyu Betara; Chairman, House Committee on Science Research Institutes, Olaide Akinremi; Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu; and Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Land Transport, Tajudeen Abbas; Chairman of the House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, Abdulraheem Olawuyi; Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, Sada Soli; Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Makki Yalleman; Chairman of the House Committee on PWDs, Miriam Onuoha; and Sani Jaji.

Wase and Gagdi are from Plateau in the North-Central geopolitical zone; Ado-Doguwa, Kano, North-West; Betara, Borno, North-East; Akinremi, Oyo, South-West; Kalu, Abia, South-East; Yalleman, Jigawa, North-West; Jaji, Zamfara, North-West; Soli, Katsina, North-West; Olawuyi, Kwara, North-Central; Abbas, Kaduna, North-West; and Onuoha, Imo, South-East.

Tinubu is from Lagos in the South-West, while the Vice President-elect, Kashim Shettima, is from Borno State in the North-East.

The APC is now left to consider National Assembly leadership positions for the remaining zones – North-West, North-Central, South-South and South-East – in its much-awaited leadership zoning plan.

Four key positions are up for grabs at the National Assembly. They include, President of the Senate, Deputy President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Three of the four current holders of the offices were re-elected, including Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Femi Gbajabiamila (Speaker of the House of Representatives), and Idris Wase (Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives). Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy President of the Senate, lost his election to replace Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as governor.

With the emergence of Tinubu as president-elect, plans by Gbajabiamila to retain his position as Speaker have been punctured because he hails from Lagos State, which is also the home state of the president-elect.

APC group backs Musa for Senate Presidency

Meanwhile, members of the APC, South West Coalition, on Wednesday, endorsed Senator Sani Musa as its preferred candidate for the 10th Senate Presidency.

Musa is the senator representing Niger East Senatorial District and one of the top contenders for the Senate President of the 10th Senate that will be inaugurated in June.

Stating the reasons for the group’s endorsement, the group Coordinator, Ade Ifeshile, stated that Musa was loyal to the party’s ideals and philosophies, and had “paid his dues in party politics.”

He added that Musa showed his loyalty to the party by stepping down from his ambition to be the national chairman of the APC in 2022.

Musa was one of the chairmanship aspirants of the APC in 2022.

Ifeshile, in a release on Wednesday, said, “The respected senator, who is the current Chairman of the Committee on Senate Services, exhibited his loyalty to the APC when he stepped down for the National Chairman of the party, Adamu Abdullahi, last year, in compliance with the party’s directives.

“It is also worthy of note that the distinguished senator had, over time, made a lot of sacrifices for the progress of the party since its formation.

“Despite being one of the major financiers of the party in Niger State, which is his home state, he had also sacrificed his senatorial ambition for the stability of the party in 2015 when the party was still at the nascent stage.

“The same sacrifice he made during the party convention in 2022 when he jettisoned his ambition to become the party’s National chairman.”

Ifeshile added that the group would support Musa’s candidacy by “writing special letters” detailing his leadership qualities, virtues and competence to all elected APC senators in the southwest region.”

It was also gathered that a ranking senator from the North West plotting to replace Lawan has reached out to top emirs from the North.

He has also met with first time senators-elect, with claims of alleged financial inducements during the hurried meeting held in Abuja.

It was reported that Tinubu, on Wednesday, departed his Asokoro residence for Defence Guest House in the Maitama District of Abuja, from where he will function until May 29 inauguration.

Tinubu, who was dressed in a free-flowing white Babaringa with a red cap to match, arrived at his new operational base at about 12.15pm.

He was accompanied by the vice president-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Secretary of the dissolved APC Presidential Campaign Council, James Faleke; Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; Kwara State Governor, AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman and the Senator representing Ekiti Central, Opeyemi Bamidele.

Shortly after his arrival, the president-elect received a delegation of party stalwarts led by the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, Adamu; National Secretary of the party, Iyiola Omisore; former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha; Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule as well as Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and Governor of Jigawa State, Abubakar Badaru.