El-Rufai Penciled For SGF, APC Plans NEC For Mid-April As NASS Leadership Tussle Heightens

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) may have concluded arrangements with the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to hold its expanded National Executive Committee (NEC) in the second week of April.

This is as the jostle for the Senate presidency and other principal offices of the 10th National Assembly intensifies, with aspirants stepping up campaigns.

The APC National Working Committee (NWC) is reportedly set to convene NEC to deliberate and settle the zoning issue ahead of the June inauguration of the National Assembly.

Speaking to Leadership, a member of the APC NWC disclosed that the “hard push” by some influential South West lawmakers might rob the zone of the position of deputy speaker.

According to the source, the current Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, and his loyalists in the House are pushing for Tajudeen Abbas from Kaduna to emerge Speaker and Prof Julius Ihonvbere from Edo State in South-South to emerge Deputy Speaker.

However, a close aide of one of the governors of the South West hinted that the governors would soon meet to discuss and reach a consensus.

He said, “We know, of course, that the current Speaker and his boys have already settled for Hon. Tajudeen Abbas from Kaduna State as next speaker. His campaign is coordinated by the chairman House Committee on NDDC, Bunmi Tunji Ojo who has been penciled for chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, with Prof Julius Ihonvbere as deputy Speaker.

“But the choice is at variance with the much touted consideration of the Kaduna governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai as possible SGF. Tinubu wants him in the incoming government and majority of the governors of the APC are in tune with Tinubu’s choice of giving the Kaduna governor a key role considering his role during the pre-primary era and in standing firm for Tinubu.

“Majorly, that is where Abbas might have issues because Tinubu has said each zone must have a fair deal apart from the fact that the North West has had about three speakers since 1999.

“And of course, the South West governors are already thinking of having a meeting with the APC NWC where they would insist on having the position of deputy speaker; but before then, we hope Gbaja and his team would not have pushed too far for TJ, as Abbas is fondly called by colleagues.

“As for the deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, he might be lucky to have the position of speaker zoned to the North Central if Tinubu finally makes up his mind to consider El-Rufai as SGF.

“He is most likely to enjoy the support of the APC governors who are scheming for El Rufai as SGF. It means the president-elect’s choice for the position of SGF holds the ace.

“But everything will be clearer when the NEC is called to ratify whatever recommendation from the NWC because it is only then the details of the zoning will be formally unveiled to members-elect to allow for a one month campaign ahead of NASS inauguration”.

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