Ex-lawmakers caution as Tinubu wades into NASS leadership tussle

Ex-lawmakers caution as Tinubu wades into NASS leadership tussle

President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has inspected his official residence ahead of the May 29 inauguration as President and Commander-in-Chief Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Tinubu, alongside his Vice-President-elect, Kashim Shettima, also held a high-level consultation Wednesday on the zoning of the leadership of the 10th National Assembly with the National Working Committee (NWC) members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at the Defence House in Abuja…..CONTINUE READING

In attendance at the meeting were Vice-President-elect Shettima, the governor of Kwara state, Abdulrahman AbdulRasak, APC National Chairman Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Deputy National Chairman (North) Senator Abubakar Kyari, Deputy National Chairman (South) Chief Emma Eneukwu and National Secretary Senator Iyiola Omisore

Others at the meeting were Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, Speaker House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and Speaker Kaduna State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Yusuf Zailani.

The outcome of the meeting which lasted about an hour was not made known to newsmen, as all attendees at the meeting kept sealed lips and headed for their cars.

But sources at the meeting told our correspondent that the president-elect only came to inspect his official residence pending the inauguration, and only used the opportunity to have a meeting with some key officials of the party and the National Assembly.

One of the sources said: “Asiwaju and other leaders were here to inspect the facility but seized the opportunity to have a meeting with the leadership of the NWC and NASS as regards zoning of the leadership of 10th National Assembly.”

Another source said the meeting failed to conclude but agreed to make more consultations and reconvene later in the night.

But when the APC National Chairman, Senator Adamu, was cornered by newsmen after the meeting, the former Nasarawa state governor simply said they had a fruitful deliberation.

Asked if the meeting was able to resolve the zoning of the 10th National Assembly, the party chairman simply said: “Nigerians should be patient with the party. We should wait. What is good for the country is what is good for us as a party. We are only celebrating the victory of our party now.”

Tinubu’s intervention came at a time the lawmakers-elect and their backers, were intensifying lobby for the leadership positions in both chambers of the National Assembly.

For instance, some of the aspiring leaders, including Senator Osita B. Izunaso, visited Asiwaju Tinubu Wednesday to present to him his Certificate of Return (CoR).

Also, a group of members-elect in the House of Representatives backing Aliyu-Muktar Betara as speaker in the 10th Assembly had Tuesday flagged off a nationwide tour of the six geopolitical zones.

The delegation, being led by Ismail Dabo (APC, Bauchi), commenced the tour from the southeast with a meeting in Enugu to galvanize support for Betara as the next speaker.

Meanwhile, the president-elect has continued to receive more party leaders who came to welcome him after his vacation to Paris, France.

Visitors to the Asokoro Lodge of the President-elect Wednesday include Nasarawa state Governor Abdullahi A. Sule and former Imo state Governor Senator Rochas Okorocha.

Ex-lawmakers warn

In a related development, a group of former federal lawmakers Wednesday cautioned political parties against zoning of legislative positions alongside offices in the executive arm of government.

Rising from a one-day sensitisation parley with some state Houses of Assembly Members-Elect in Jos, Plateau state, the ex-legislators called on the leadership of various political parties, the president and governors-elect to therefore, not interfere with the election of National Assembly Principal Officers.

According to a communiqué signed by Hon. Golu Timothy, former Chief Whip of the Plateau state House of Assembly and member of the 8th House of Representatives, the former lawmakers including Senators, House of Representatives and state Assembly Principal Officers and other resource persons, averred that executive offices are different from legislative positions, hence must exist on their respective merits whether the occupants come from the same zone.

While noting that such a practice does not add value to democratic principles neither does it promotes separation of powers, checks and balances, they underscored the need to allow Members-elect to exercise their franchise without any interference, maintaining that allowing for a natural course of leadership emergence brings better harmony and understanding, mutual respect and less politicisation.

The group agreed that having a legislative officer from the same zone with any executive officer should not be an issue because they have different roles and responsibilities to perform and will be assessed based on their respective constitutionally assigned duties.

“Look at how the election of legislators went across the country in the just concluded 2023 general elections. People were voted not according to party but the personalities involved. If party considerations are less a factor in the just concluded general elections, why must our political parties and their leaderships zoned legislative offices? Such will not bring any expected result but crisis of confidence.

“It is no longer fashionable for the executive to interfere with the leadership decisions of the legislatures at any level. Legislators have come of age in the country and must be allowed to do their things.

“Where we have people elected and you want to decide for them their leadership is in itself undemocratic. The experiences of the legislature are quite different from those of the executive.

“President and Governors- Elect should refrain from deciding for the legislators who becomes their Speakers. Most times those imposed don’t last and where they do, they don’t perform because of distractions and anxiety or fear of survival or incompetence”, the group said.

The former lawmakers also commended members-elect, especially those of the House of Representatives, for their support for Betara for speakership of the 10th assembly, saying the fifth term legislator from Borno state has done well and deserves such support…..CONTINUE READING

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