The National Working Committee, NWC, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, failed to take a decision on the zoning of the senate presidency and speakership of the 10th National Assembly during its meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.
The National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, disclosed that the NWC could not take a position on the zoning arrangement without the input of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who was away in Port Harcourt to inaugurate some projects executed by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, at the time of the meeting.
The four-hour meeting, which started at about 1 pm was presided by Adamu with no fewer than 18 of the 24-member NWC in attendance.
The parley was expected to lay to rest the speculations about the zone that would produce the principal officers of the 10th National Assembly.
While the South-East and South-South lawmakers believed it is equitable to award the Senate Presidency to their zones, their Northern counterparts are insisting that only the parameters of competence and experience mattered.
Addressing newsmen after the end of the parley, the chairman disclosed that they had a meaningful deliberation that further connotes that the party leadership remains more formidable and united.
Adamu said, “The outcome of our four-hour meeting: We came out more formidable and united than anything. The zoning of presiding officers of the National Assembly that some of you are asking about is not what today’s meeting is all about. When we want to do zoning, we don’t just go alone as a party.
“Zoning is to take along the person who has the mandate of the country, the president-elect in the person of Ahmed Bola Tinubu. We have to take him along. He travelled after the elections and came back only last week. We have to carry him along.
“Also, we cannot stop those who are ambitious with zonal, individual or institutional interests. We cannot deny them. For as long as that is there, we have to find a persuasive manner to get some level of consensus. That is what we are working on. It is not a one-day affair.”
In a similar vein, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Felix Morka, re-echoed the sentiments of the chairman when asked about the outcome of the NWC meeting.
Morka also confirmed that a committee, comprising five of the six NWC zonal chairmen, has been formed to resolve the lingering feud between Adamu and Lukman as well as address the concerns raised by the Kaduna politician.
He said, “Amongst all of the issues discussed at the meeting, we look at some internal and domestic housekeeping matters with a colleague that you know who has expressed his concerns about something he believes the party should be doing. We deliberated fully about it.
“As we speak, a committee that was set up to complete that conversation is in progress right now. So, there is still a meeting that is ongoing that I am supposed to be part of to fully rectify that discussion and offer final recommendations on that subject.
“But I am happy to report that the party stands united behind the leadership of the National Chairman of our party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu. We are all standing together. The concerns raised by our colleague (Lukman) who has concerns, are being looked into. And I think in due course, we will have very specific conclusions from those discussions.”
When asked to explain why the ruling party was delaying the decision on the zoning of the Senate presidency, speaker, and other principal offices, Morka noted that it wasn’t deliberate as was being speculated.
He added, “We are not wasting time. There is no timeline to do so. The zoning is something that the party does. It is a mechanism by which the party is able to make decisions and afford those who are interested in competing for power in the leadership of the 10th National Assembly to do so seamlessly with a minimum rift and rancour.
“So there is no timeline to that. We are not in a hurry. We want to do it right. You also heard the chairman say it required very exhaustive consultation. Not just from the leadership of the party but also from those who are aspiring so that whatever the party comes up with, by way of formula, will be acceptable with minimum friction. It is important that the consultation is done and it is done properly. That is what is going on right now.”
Multiple sources who provided more insight into the party’s plans for zoning of National Assembly offices explained that the APC was planning to plead with ambitious aspirants to settle for the consensus option.
A source said, “Despite the long list of agenda, which was not released to any member of the National Working Committee until minutes before the commencement of the meeting, the party leadership only deliberated on the leadership crisis in APC South-South, consensus candidates in place of zoning and an appeal for the National Vice Chairman for North-West, Mallam Salihu Lukman, to save the party from embarrassment by withdrawing his lawsuit.’’