Ahead of the 10th National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (NASS) inauguration on June 13, the future of those wishing to serve as presiding officers appears to be in limbo because President Bola Tinubu has not yet made a formal announcement regarding the matter.
A few of the candidates, including former governors of the states of Zamfara and Abia, Abdulaziz Yari and Orji Kalu, among others, were not present when the president met with lawmakers-elect at Aso Rock Villa on Wednesday night.
According to a source with access to the meeting, some northern leaders are adamant that the region produced both the Senate President and the House Speaker.
Speaking on the development, a lawmaker-elect, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “At the time you called, I was about to enter the villa. For now, nothing has changed. The president didn’t mention any names while meeting with us, all he said was that we should work and be united. That was all he said.”
On whether the president will support Senator Godswill Akpabio and Mr. Tajudeen Abass for the Senate presidency and speakership, the source said: “I am just leaving the meeting, and the president didn’t say he has preferred candidates.”
In response to a question about the North’s stance on the 10th NASS leadership, he stated: “This is a northern agenda, they don’t want Tinubu to control the Senate but as for the G-6, they are still intact, although Betara has withdrawn from the race his supporters have shifted base to Idris Wase.
The president’s claim of religious balancing is what is most vexatious. How can he say so because his chief of staff is not just from Lagos, the same state? Is Gbajabiamila, not a Muslim? We shall meet on the floor on Tuesday.”
Recall that the All Progressives Congress (APC), chose Godswill Akpabio from the South-South zone and Senator Jubrin Barau from the North West zone as Senate president and deputy president, respectively.
It also anointed Tajudeen Abass from the North West and Benjamin Kalu from the South East as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively.
The party’s choice has, however, drawn criticism and condemnation from other contestants for the principal positions in the National Assembly.