The All Progressives Congress’s (APC) National Working Committee (NWC) is going to open up the race for the leadership positions in the 10th National Assembly, which means that anyone can run for those positions.
You may recall that the party had announced that Senator Godswill Akpabio (South-South) would be its consensus candidate for the presidency of the Senate in the 10th Assembly, and that Senator Jibrin Barau (North West) would be the party’s preferred candidate for the position of Deputy Senate President.
In addition, the All Progressives Congress (APC) decided that Tajudeen Abbas (North West) would be its preferred candidate for the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives, while Benjamin Kalu (South East) would be the party’s consensus choice for the position of Deputy Speaker.
However, the zoning arrangement that was announced by the party in power elicited irate responses from newly elected lawmakers who had previously stated their intention to run for the principal offices.
According to sources who spoke with the Vanguard on Wednesday, the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is concerned that its proposed zoning may be thwarted, and it is recommending to Bola Tinubu, the President-elect, that the contest be thrown open.
The stalwart member of the APC also stated that the leadership of the party had learned that the dissatisfied aspirants, also known as the G-6, have already chosen a candidate that they all agree on among themselves.
“It appears the National Working Committee is suspicious that their plan may not go as planned and that is why they are recommending a free contest.
“Secretly, they have recommended a free contest because they (NWC) have intelligence that the G-6 aspirants have already adopted a consensus candidate among themselves but they have not revealed the identity of that person.
“The G-6 aspirants are confusing the party, the Gbaja boys are also confused because they don’t know who they are throwing up.”
Another source told Vanguard that the G-6 speakership aspirants might have settled to pick a deputy speaker from the South-South geo-political zone.
“Secondly, they have got concrete information that the G-6 is going to the South-South to pick their deputy.”
Also speaking, a lawmaker-elect said the party leadership needs to quickly address the zoning arrangement in order not to allow the issue to fester into a party crisis.
The APC chieftain also revealed that there is credible intelligence that the aggrieved aspirants who have formed the G-6 are already in an alliance with the opposition parties.
He said: “There are issues and they need to be confronted because the more we delay in solving the issues once and for all, the more we keep on having fresh ones.
“For instance, we have credible intelligence that the aggrieved aspirants who have formed the G-6 are already in an alliance with the opposition parties.
“Initially, we thought it was not going to work but we gathered credible information that they swore to themselves not to betray one another and went ahead to concede the deputy speakership slot to the opposition parties.
“We first considered it an act of indiscipline and anti-party but in a second thought, we needed to be smart to throw the contest open to all aspirants. Whoever wins at every point is after all a party man.
“Some suggested that they should be sanctioned but we looked at the bigger picture because we must learn from experience as party administrators. What are the consequences for those aspirants? And what are those consequences on the party as a whole?
“So, the message the party chairman gave to Senator Akpabio and his team when they visited was a coded message. It is left for them to decode it because it is difficult to do another rejoinder to repudiate what we had said earlier on zoning.
“More importantly, our initial thought was that the aggrieved aspirants would quickly adopt someone amongst them but they are also smart enough not to do so for now.
“That keeps the suspense high and it will be risky to allow them to do the damage by allying with the opposition parties swiftly on the floor of the parliament that day.
“Of course, we know too well that most of the people milling around Akpabio or Abbas are playing politics. So, what is the guarantee that all are with us?
“So we have decided to slow down and lower our tone on streamlining to individuals; let all those interested come out to contest because if we don’t allow that to happen, the gang up of the aggrieved APC aspirants and the opposition will be too risky for us.”