APC Senators, Reps await final zoning formula on NASS officers

As the horse-trading for principal officers of the National Assembly intensifies, All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators and members of the House of Representatives are awaiting the final zoning formula from the ruling party.

The party is however being careful not to impose principal officers on its caucuses in the National Assembly.

There were indications that consultations were ongoing among APC leaders, senators and members of the House.

But no agreement has been reached on the power sharing formula.

The offices to be filled are: Senate Majority Leader, Senate Deputy Majority Leader, Chief Whip, and Deputy Chief Whip.

In the House of Representatives, the vacant positions are House Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, Chief Whip, and Deputy Chief Whip.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that although a tentative zoning formula was approved for the Senate by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC, the party said it was not the final.

The formula for the Senate is Senate Leader (Northcentral); Deputy Senate Leader (Northwest); Chief Whip (Southeast/Southwest); and Deputy Chief Whip (Southwest or Southeast).

It was gathered that the positions of the Senate Leader and House Leader have attracted more jostling among lawmakers.

The Northcentral, the Northwest and the Southeast are jostling for Senate Leader.

In the House, the struggle for its leader is between the Northeast and the Northwest.

Some of the high-profile aspirants are a former Deputy Speaker nominee to Gbajabiamila in 2015, M. T. Monguno (Northeast); ex-Chief Whip Ado Doguwa; Garba Datti; Musa Sarki Ada, Goro Aminu Suleiman (Northwest); Johnson Egwahido Oguma (Southsouth); Nkiru Onyejeocha, who stepped down for the Speaker and Emeka Nwajiuba (Southeast).

While the Northeast is seeking the slot for House Majority Leader, the Northwest is insisting that it deserves the office.

Also, the Southeast said it should not be left out in the scheme of things in the National Assembly.

A ranking Senator from the Northwest said: “We have been having talks across the geo-political zones but we are yet to reach consensus on how to share the remaining positions.

“We are now relying on the party to zone these offices before we resume. If the zoning is effected, each geopolitical caucus can meet and vote for any preferred candidate from their zone for any office allotted to it.”

A top source in APC said the party was being careful to avoid division in its caucuses in the Senate and the House.

The source said: “We did the zoning informally before the election of the President of the Senate, the Deputy President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Deputy Speaker.

“But the zoning is not iron cast, political exigencies will determine the final zoning formula. No action has been taken on the zoning of other offices.

“What we are doing now is to allow Senators and members of the House to consult among themselves in order to build consensus. We do not want to impose principal officers.

“When we get feelers from our lawmakers, we will aggregate majority views, alongside those of our leaders, and come out with final zoning formula.”

When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mallam Issa Lanre-Onilu said: “No action has been taken on the zoning of the remaining offices to my knowledge.”

A ranking Senator, however, said: “The actual convention all over the world is for the  party to lead the initiative and zone these offices. We don’t know why they have not done so.

“We hope they will adopt this universal convention. We are loyal party men, we will abide by the decision of the party.”

(The Nation)