9th NASS: APC zones Senate key offices

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There were indications last night that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has tentatively agreed on power sharing formula for five more principal offices in the 9th Senate.

The party will soon name its favourites for the coveted offices after more consultations with the presidency and national leaders in order to ensure early rapprochement with its Senators-elect before the inauguration of the National Assembly in June.

But the APC NWC will meet next week to decide on the formula for the House of Representatives in spite of strong signals that the South-West might produce the Speaker.

Although the NWC was expected to hold an emergency session on Thursday on power sharing in the House, it was called off at the last minute.

The APC on Monday night picked the outgoing Senate Leader, Sen. Ahmed Lawan, as its choice for Senate President.

The development has left the race open for the remaining five principal offices.

According to investigation conducted by our correspondent, the APC has zoned the five offices as follows: Deputy Senate President (South-South); Senate Leader (North-Central); Deputy Senate Leader (North-West); Chief Whip (South-East/South-West) and Deputy Chief Whip (South-West/South-East).

It was learnt that there had been pressure on the party leadership to concede the Chief Whip position to the South-East for a reasonable power balance in the upper chamber.

Those lobbying for the South-East claimed that since the outgoing holder of the office of Chief Whip, Prof. Olusola Adeyeye, is from the South-West, it will be fair to give the slot to the South-East.

The party will, however, consult soon on the ranking senators that will occupy the remaining five principal offices in the Senate.

A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “We have tentatively agreed on how to zone the five remaining principal offices in the Senate.

“The formula agreed upon is as follows: Deputy Senate President (South-South); Senate Leader (North-Central); Deputy Senate Leader (North-West); Chief Whip (South-East/South-West) and Deputy Chief Whip (South-West/South-East).

“The party leadership is still consulting with national leaders and senators-elect on how to fill these slots without acrimony in the APC caucus in the upper chamber.

“Depending on mutual agreement by stakeholders, we may still tinker with one or two offices.

“For instance, while the party favours the South-West for Chief Whip, some stakeholders have made a strong case that the slot should be for the South-East because the South-West had occupied it in the last four years.

“There is pressure to concede the Chief Whip position to the South-East and the Deputy Chief Whip to the South-West because Prof. Olusola Adeyeye from the South-West is the outgoing Chief Whip.

“We are still holding series of meetings with relevant stakeholders in line with the promise of the President for an all-inclusive government.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “The need to share power equitably at the Senate has actually delayed the announcement of APC’s decision on the 9th Speaker of the House of Representatives.”

But a ranking member of the House, who is deeply involved in the power game, said the “National Working Committee of APC will meet next week to choose the next Speaker and work out zoning modalities for all the offices.

“I think the party has made up its mind on the next Speaker; it will only unveil him next week.

“We were told the NWC wanted to hold an emergency on the zoning of offices on Thursday but it was called off at the last minute in order not to heat up the system.

“A lot of meetings at different levels are presently going on. We want to be fair to all. We are expecting a smooth take-off for the 9th National Assembly.”

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