By Dare Odufowokan
* Consultations on over S/East, S/South agitations
The All Progressives Congress (APC) may stick to its 2015 zoning formula in picking the leadership of the incoming 9th National Assembly, according to feelers from the ruling party.
Although there are ongoing moves to alter the existing zoning formula for various reasons and considerations, multiple sources told The Nation that leaders of the party may have resolved to retain the present arrangement.
Consequently, the northeast will produce the Senate President and the Southwest Speaker of the House of Representatives.
However, sources said that given the several alterations the initial zoning arrangement of 2015 was subjected to before it was truncated by NASS members led by Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Reps Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the party will meet with elected national assembly members and other stakeholders next week to iron out the issue.
It was also gathered that the majority of the members-elect, especially returning lawmakers, have agreed in principle, that the party should co-ordinate the emergence of the next leadership of the national assembly.
“Most of them are of the opinion that the party, being the vehicle through which they all got elected, should provide leadership on the matter,” one source said.
“At an informal meeting with the president and some leaders of the party, the members-elect, especially returning legislators, urged the party to put the process of deciding how the principal officers will emerge in motion immediately, promising to abide by the suggestions of the party in nominating the leadership of the two chambers of the assembly upon resumption,” the source added.
The APC leadership, it was also gathered, is holding consultations with stakeholders on how to address the fears of the South-south and the South-east on the sharing of positions in the legislature.
Some APC federal lawmakers from the two zones are understood to be interested in the senate presidency and other plum positions.
One source said:”It is true the party has received some letters and deputations on the agitations of the two zones (South-south and South-east) seeking to be considered for certain positions in the national assembly.
“We indeed appreciate these moves. It is in confirmation of our collective resolve to promote party supremacy in all we do as a way of strengthening our democratic experience the more.
“Consequently, I can tell you that consultations and talks are ongoing with concerned stakeholders on how to address some of the issues being raised in such a way that everybody is fairly taken care of and the party is the better for it.
“Don’t forget that there are minority positions too and we will not be involved in determining those ones.”
Another top level source said: “With more zones, groups and individuals daily showing interest in the positions, the party is looking for the best way to handle the matter.
“And one of the suggestions that have received wide applause and support is the idea of bringing back the zoning arrangement proffered in 2015 before Saraki and his supporters truncated efforts by the party to midwife a leadership for the assembly.
“The presidency will remain the same in May 2019 as it was back then.
“Those promoting the idea are saying since the zones that produced the president and the vice president will not change, the zoning arrangement shouldn’t change.
“And a look at the members-elect revealed that the zones favoured by the 2015 arrangement can still boast of capable and reliable hands to man the principal offices if given the opportunities.”
From the results of the national assembly elections so far released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the APC has the majority in the red chamber with 63 senators, followed by PDP with 38 while Youth Progressives Party (YFP) has a seat.
Elections in seven other senatorial districts are inconclusive.
In the green chamber, the APC also has the majority of members – 211.
The PDP has 111 members while the remaining 16 seats are shared as follows: APGA – 6; African Democratic Congress (ADC)-3; Action Alliance (AA) -2; Peoples Redemption Party (PRP)-2; African Democratic Party (ADP) -1; Allied Peoples Movement (APM) -1; and Social Democratic Party (SDP) -1.
Twenty-two seats are still up for grabs where elections were declared inconclusive.
Make-up polls in the affected federal constituencies (excluding in Rivers State) have been fixed for March 23
No matter the outcome of the supplementary elections, the APC will retain its majority in the two chambers; hence will provide leadership for the national assembly.
Culled from TheNation