APC leaders fail to agree on zoning

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Leaders of the All Progressives Congress on Thursday failed   to reach a decision on the   zoning of   political offices.

They   met at the Rivers State Governors’ Lodge at Asokoro, Abuja all through Wednesday night and the early hours of Thursday.

The leaders however adjourned the meeting after considering the party’s performance in the last general elections as well as the way forward for this week’s re-run elections in Abia, Imo and Taraba states.

It was learnt that they felt more consultations were needed before a final decision could be taken on position sharing.

A highly placed member of the party, who spoke toThe PUNCH about the meeting, explained that the APC leadership was only   being meticulous.

The member, who asked not to be named   because he was not authorised to speak on the issues discussed at the meeting , said, “We have to be careful in dealing with such sensitive issues because we must carry everybody along to eliminate the possibility of having aggrieved members who could be used by our opponents.

“If you remember, the President-elect, (Muhammadu Buhari) has promised to be the President of those who voted for and against him and even those who did not vote. And   in keeping with this promise, we want to come up with what is fair to all like we have done so far. We may meet again today(Thursday) or tomorrow(today).”

The PUNCH   however gathered that   the APC National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, was mandated to meet with the serving and elected lawmakers of the party to feel their pulse on the zoning of the principal offices in the National Assembly.

The meeting which was scheduled for Thursday was postponed for an undisclosed reason.

When contacted by one of our correspondents, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC,   Lai Mohammed, said, “Like I told you yesterday (Wednesday), our leaders only met to discuss party issues, there was no National Working Committee or National Executive Council meeting. “When we hold such a meeting, we will let you know.”

The APC leaders at the meeting were   the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari; the Vice-President-elect,   Yomi Osinbajo;   former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and a former Lagos State Governor,   Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu.

Others   were a former National Chairman of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party,   Ogbonnaya Onu, publisher of Leadership Newspaper,   Sam Nda- Isaiah; the Chairman of the   Progressives Governors’ Forum,   Rochas Okorocha, Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi;   Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, and Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Millennium Development Goals, Ali Ndume, and the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance for the April 25 re-run election in Abia State, Dr. Alex Otti, made surprise appearances at the national secretariat venue of the meeting.

Ndume, who is among those being tipped for a leadership position in the incoming 8th Senate,   held a closed-door meeting with some leaders of the party.

He later   told journalists that   the North-East where he comes from was seeking for the highest available office. The lawmaker added that as genuine party members, they were prepared to abide by whatever decision the party arrived at on the matter.

He said, “Anything that is given to us will be okay. We have contributed so much as a zone. We even prefer to be given the best but we know that the best cannot be given to all.

“For instance, we prefer to be given even the presidency but that has been given to another zone and the vice- president also to another zone.

“The party is considering all these and we are pushing our case. It is left for the party to decide what is in the best interest of the country which is what the party stands for.”

It was not clear why Otti was at the venue of the meeting with the leaders of the APC but insiders believe his visit was to consolidate on a working relationship he has developed with the APC.

Meanwhile, a member of National Executive Council of the APC told one of our correspondents that the South-East would not produce any principal officers in the Buhari administration.

The NEC member said the inability of the region to produce a senator or a member of the House of Representatives in the April 11 elections   shut out the zone from producing any principal officer.

The NEC member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that the idea of picking a Peoples Democratic Party senator-elect or House of Representatives-elect as a principal officer was impossible.

He said, “The national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Tinubu, has gone to the US. He will also be in London. If Senator Chris Ngige had won his election into the Senate, he would have been an automatic candidate for the senate presidency.

“There’s no way a PDP senator or federal lawmaker would be selected for any of the principal posts which include the senate presidency, deputy senate presidency, speaker and deputy speaker. You cannot be a senate president or speaker if you are not a ranking member of the leading party in the House.”

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