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NASS Leadership: Tinubu, NWC Meet Contestants

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The President-elect, Bola Tinubu, alongside members of the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress led by the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu and some stakeholders met with some contestants for the Senate President seat on Tuesday.

The meeting, which was held at Tinubu’s Asokoro, Abuja home, marked the beginning of consultations by the former Lagos State governor on the party’s choice for the President of the Senate, Deputy Senate President, Speaker, Deputy Speaker and other key seats.

Also in attendance at the Tuesday meeting were Governor of Ekiti State, Biodun Oyebanji; the Senator representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District, Opeyemi Bamidele; Senator-elect, Godswill Akpabio; the senator representing Kano North Senatorial District, Barau Jubrin; Deputy National Chairman for North, Senator Abubakar Kyari and the Secretary of the dissolved APC Presidential Campaign Council, James Faleke.

Others include the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajamiabila, former Nasarawa state governor, Tanko Almakura and former Senator for Benue North-East senator, Barnabas Gemade, Senator Adeola Solomon, (Ogun West in the 10th Assembly) and Senator Tokunbo Abiru (Lagos East).

Further to this, it was learnt that the APC might release its zoning plan for leadership positions in the 10th National Assembly this week.

Though Tinubu had previously said he had no anointed candidate, multiple sources at the meeting stated that Senator Akpabio had been anointed as the candidate for the Senate President while Barau was penciled for the Deputy Senate President.

According to sources, Akpabio was said to have done a lot for the party including shelving his presidential ambition for Tinubu when he stepped down for him at the APC primary elections.

One of the sources said, “Akpabio was favoured because of his contributions to the party including stepping down for the president-elect during the primary elections.

“He was also said to have delivered parts of South-South to the president-elect during the February 25 elections. The pairing was deliberate; Barau would likely get the position of the Deputy Senate President.”

Another source who was at the meeting noted that two South-West lawmakers, Bamidele and Adeola were also lobbying for the positions of Senate leaders.

The source said, “ Senators Adeola and Bamidele are lobbying for the position of the Senate leader which is usually given to the geo-political zone of the president. Also, Gbajabiamila and Faleke are pushing hard for the Chief of Staff position.”

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Speaking after his meeting with the president-elect, Akpabio noted that his chances of being the Senate president were very high.

He said, “The issue of the Senate Presidency is a function of senators. I have had the privilege of serving the Senate before as a minority leader and any senator should be ready to avail himself if his colleagues so wish for him to serve as a Senate President.

“The chances for me to be Senate President are very high because my colleagues already know my track record in terms of governance, legislative business and the wide range of experience that I have in politics.”

Almakura noted that all the aspirants were eminently qualified and had paid their dues, but Akpabio, he said, had several times stuck out his neck for the party.

He said, “Amongst them is someone (Akpabio) who has been there when it matters. He worked for APC, he did everything to ensure the stability of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and that person also decided to leave a very important position within the Senate to support the APC. That person is now going for the position of the Senate President; I think he has paid his dues.”

Supporting the decision to zone the NASS positions, Gemade said, “Everybody expects that there should be zoning whenever a new government is about to be formed.

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