The President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) and National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, are to meet today to resolve simmering issues on the zoning of principal offices in the National Assembly and the incoming government, sources close to the party have said.
The meeting is in the wake of fresh intrigues in the party that have led to the realignment of geo-political caucuses within and outside the National Assembly.
In the most remarkable development over the weekend, the influential South-West caucus of the party, led by an influential opinion moulder, was said to have dumped the Senate presidency aspirations of Senator George Akume from Benue State in favour of Senator Ahmed Lawan from Yobe State.
The move, it was gathered, was on the premise of safeguarding the South-West’s aspiration of enthroning outgoing Minority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, as Speaker.
The move to dump Akume, Vanguard learned, was meant to checkmate the speakership aspiration of Yakubu Dogara from Bauchi State in the North-East. The move by the South-West Caucus, Vanguard learned, was upon the formidable threat of the Northern House caucus to throw up Dogara, a popular member of the House, as the Speaker.
Dogara is said to have received almost a unanimous support from the about 200-strong Northern caucus of members-elect.
By siding the North-East to produce the Senate President, South-West caucus would automatically have blocked the region from also producing the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The move leaves the position solely for Gbajabiamila, who according to inside sources, has already received the endorsement of party leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, for the top job.
Edging out North-Central
However, the move by the South-West APC caucus is being resisted within and outside the region by other forces.
Buhari, according to one source, was also said not to be pleased with the development as it could leave the number one and three top positions in the government in the hands of the far north, edging out the North-Central.
A source privy to the ongoing development told Vanguard last night that associates of the President-elect are troubled that having the President and the Senate President from the far north could throw up old assumptions that Buhari and the people of the far north are inconsiderate of the feelings of North-Central.
“This is the first time that Buhari is getting strong support from the North-Central and it would throw up old and buried assumptions that Buhari and the people of the core North always want to use the Northern minorities for political gains,” a source in APC, privy to the development, said.
Akume, Saraki supporters pleased
Buhari’s consideration of the North-Central for the office of Senate President, it was learned, had thrown a spanner into the works of the South-West to team up with the North-East for the Senate Presidency.
Campaigners for the two leading North-Central senators in the contest, Akume and Bukola Saraki, were said to be pleased with the seeming intervention from Buhari, it was learned last night.
The President-elect and Odigie-Oyegun are also expected to have a few party leaders in the meeting to break the impasse.
Party sources, while trying to play down the gathering tension, are nevertheless eager to resolve the impasse in line with the injunction of the outgoing governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwanso.
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