The National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, Abdullahi Adamu, has advised the party’s endorsed aspirants for the National Assembly leadership positions to be mindful of an upset during the inauguration of the 10th legislature.
Adamu, during a meeting with Senator Godswill Akpabio, endorsed for the Senate presidency and Deputy Senate Presidential aspirant, Jibrin Barau, urged them to arrive early for the inauguration on June 13.
The two favoured candidates led a delegation of 41 senators to the national secretariat in Abuja to brief the party on the progress of their consultation with other aggrieved aspirants, stakeholders and senators in the upper chamber.
Senator Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara in 2015 shunned the party’s directive by arriving early to contest the leadership positions and they emerged as the Senate President and the House of Representative Speaker respectively.
Recalling the incident on Tuesday, Adamu warned that such a scenario must not be allowed to repeat itself, saying ‘once bitten, twice.’
He said, “But let me warn. Don’t be late. I hope I am communicating. Don’t be late. Once bitten twice shy.”
The crucial meeting, which started at about 12:55 pm, saw the delegation of 42 senators arrive at the national headquarters in two white Coaster buses.
The meeting with the NWC is coming one week after the APC micro-zoned the position of Senate president to the immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and the deputy Senate seat to Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation.
A member from Kaduna State, Tajudeen Abbas, was tipped for the position of the House of Representatives Speaker.
The party has also met four aggrieved Senate presidency aspirants, who threatened to revolt by disobeying the party position if the zoning formula was not reviewed.
But addressing Akpabio and his delegation of 41 senators, the APC national chairman expressed satisfaction over the level of progress their two anointed candidates for the Senate leadership has made ahead of the 10th Assembly inauguration.
He said, “We did clearly mention in the announcement that we need further and better consultation. We need to deepen consultations to carry many others along. From all you (Akpabio) just said, there is ample evidence that there has been consultation and we will not relent to ensure that, if it were possible, all senators-elect agree. Whatever we do, whatsoever signature we collect, the final decision will be on the floor of the Senate and also the House.
“All these efforts are very good and important but we are in a democracy and people are bound to have opinions and we have no right to stop them. I’m happy that we are heeding the advice and directives we gave to make consultations. I’m happy that it is very fruitful. We shall wait till June 13 on the floor of the House. I want us to have a rancour-free election. Because even if everybody says it is Akpabio or Y or X, the rules of the game say there must be an election.
“Those who are in the Senate are aware of the rules. On the day of the proclamation the president and the clerk make the proclamation. So I do hope and pray that we will carry the day and be victorious. But let me warn you again, don’t be late. I hope I am communicating.”Addressing journalists, an excited Akpabio disclosed that 70 senators-elect were supporting him.
Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Legal Matters, urged the NWC to call on other dissenting voices to support the position of the party.
The Senator representing Borno South district in the 9th National Assembly, Ali Ndume, also gave an assurance that the 70 senators backing the Akpabio-Barau ticket were men of integrity who can’t be induced.
In a related development, one of the aggrieved aspirants eyeing the seat of Senate President, Abdulaziz Yari, lamented that it would be unfair for the South to occupy the three arms of government in the country at the detriment of the North.
The former Zamfara governor made the statement when he was featured as a guest on Arise Television on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, an aspirant for Speaker of the coming 10th House of Representatives, Yusuf Gagdi, has said there is no going back on the move against Abbas.
Gagdi, a member of the G-7, the group of speakership aspirants aggrieved with the leadership zoning plan of the APC, stated this.
This is just as another member of the G-7, Sani Jaji, from Zamfara State, will on Thursday declare his bid, against the zoning plan of the APC.
Another aspirant, Olaide Akinremi, from Oyo State, is now the director-general of Jaji’s campaign.
Jaji will be the third member of the G-7 to have declared his bid after the APC declared its zoning plan which favoured Tajudeen Abbas from Kaduna State in the North-West for Speaker, and Benjamin Kalu from Abia in the South-East for Deputy Speaker.
Gagdi, who is representing Pankshin/Kanam/Kanke Federal Constituency in Plateau State at the House, in an interview with select journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, stated that the aggrieved aspirants were not against the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, but the APC.
Speaking about the G-7, Gagdi said, “We are like-minded aspirants who believe that what the party came out with is unjust and against the principle of the party; against the motto of the party.
“I think in the first instance, there was no consultation. It was highly – to some of us – disrespectful; that we campaigned for the party, that we are stakeholders of the party, that we are the ones that elected the leader of the party but there was no courtesy of even calling us to say that this is what the party was arranging. All of a sudden, a decision that had to do with some of us was seen on the pages of newspapers. We felt really – quote me anywhere – undermined and that was why we said there is a need for us to do the needful, to show our strength. And we have not started anything.“We are watching people running from one governor to another with eight, nine to 12 members(-elect), aides and journalists. When we start our own, we will shut down the country.”