…shortlist Bago, Dyegh, Was
As part of efforts to settle for a consensus candidate from the North-Central for the position of deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, All Progressives Congress (APC) governors from the zone are to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari any time this week.
The meeting, New Telegraph gathered, will be attended by the national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and all party chairmen from the six states that make up the geopolitical zone.
Only last Thursday, the governors and some state party chairmen reportedly endorsed Senator Ahmed Lawan for Senate President and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as speaker of the House.
A close aide to Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau, who disclosed this to New Telegraph, said the meeting was in furtherance of efforts by the governors and party leaders to ensure that lawmakers from the region accept the decision of the party to zone the position of speaker to the South-West and deputy speaker to North-Central.
He said Lalong was already in Abuja and was putting finishing touches towards hosting the meeting to find a common ground for the zone.
“His Excellency and his colleagues may be meeting with President Buhari sometime this week to finalise the position of the North-Central on zoning of political offices. You are aware that we have been given the position of deputy speaker, but some of our lawmakers in the geopolitical zone are still contesting for speaker.
“This is giving the party and especially leaders in the zone some concern because, the North-Central is the heart of APC and we do not want a situation whereby it will become the problem of the party. We want to nip this current disagreement in the bud before it causes some damage to the party,” the source said.
Continuing, the party stalwart from Plateau said: “Right now, there is Hon. Bago from Niger, Hon. Dyegh from Benue and our son, Hon. Idris Wase from Plateau, all contesting for speaker. But the party, in its wisdom, said no; let’s give it to South-West. You people should take deputy speaker. There is no doubt we deserve more, but deputy speaker is also fair.
“In fact, those contestants will also be part of this upcoming meeting. We want to talk like brothers and like true party men. This is not a fight or imposition, but we will talk to ourselves and resolve this matter once and for all,” he stated.
However, New Telegraph gathered from other sources that although some of the governors were not comfortable with the position of deputy speaker at the meeting they held last week at Plateau Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja, they all agreed that there was need to close up and avoid any pitfall that may give the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) an opportunity from taking over leadership of the House and Senate.
A returning lawmaker on the ticket of APC in one of the states in the geopolitical zone also confirmed to us that: “Actually, the governors are on the same page with the party on the zoning arrangement so far. What is remaining is which of the lawmakers should be supported to become deputy speaker.
“When they (governors) meet this time around, they will certainly resolve this matter. Already, some party leaders are working on Wase, Dyegh and Bago to see reason with the party. Perhaps, two will have to step down for one person. We cannot have three speakers or deputy speakers. They have given us deputy speaker, let us accept it in good faith and allow peace to reign.”
Giving more insight into the thinking of the North-Central party leaders, the lawmaker said: “We need a consensus on who should take the slot of deputy speaker, which has been given to the North-Central. I am aware the governors have developed criteria to pick a candidate from those contesting and I’m confident when that decision is taken, everybody will be satisfied.”
Asked to mention the likely candidate to be picked, the lawmaker said: “I wouldn’t know who the governors are looking at; but a lot of factors will be taken into consideration before they back any candidate. Give and take, the decision will be taken this week.”
Recall that following the zoning of the position of speaker to South-West and deputy speaker to North-Central at the dinner hosted by President Buhari for all APC Reps-elect, the governors also met in Abuja to review the zoning, where they endorsed Senator Lawan and Hon. Gbajabiamila for Senate President and speaker.
The meeting was attended by Governors Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa), Sani Bello (Niger) and Hon. Emmanuel Jime, the APC gubernatorial candidate in the just concluded general election. Party chairmen from FCT, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa and Plateau were also at the meeting.