•Tinubu meets with members, and keeps mum on the preferred choice
•North insists on producing a Senate president
AHEAD of the June 13 inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, the fate of those aspiring to become presiding officers seems hanging in the balance as President Bola Tinubu is yet to make a formal pronouncement on it.
Vanguard was reliably informed that though the president met with lawmakers-elect at Aso Rock Villa Wednesday night, some of the contenders, including former governors of Zamfara and Abia states, Abdulaziz Yari and Orji Kalu, among others, were absent at the meeting.
A source privy to the meeting, also disclosed that some northern leaders are insisting that the north produced both Senate President and speaker of the House of Representatives.
Speaking on the development, a lawmaker-elect, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “At the time you called, I was about entering the Villa. For now, nothing has changed. The president didn’t mention any name 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.”
On the North’s position on the 10th NASS leadership, he said: “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agenda, they don’t want Tinubu to control the Senate but as for the G-6, they are still intact, although Betara has withdrawn from the race his supporters have shifted base to Idris Wase.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.
The party’s choice has, however, drawn criticisms and condemnation from other contestants for the principal positions of the National Assembly.