The elected members of the 10th House of Representatives are seriously battling for the principal offices after the House Speaker and Deputy Speaker have been elected and sworn in.
Recall that Honourable Tajudeen Abbas had been elected as the speaker of the house and Honorable Benjamin Kalu is the deputy speaker of the 10th House of Representatives.
Now, it is left for the house to elect members into the following principal offices, the Majority (House) Leader, Deputy Leader, Chief Whip, Deputy Whip, Minority Leader, Deputy Minority Leader, Minority Whip, and Deputy Minority Whip.
The North East, North Central, and South South zones are in a fierce contest for the position of the House Leader which is the third position in a legislative House, which frequently represents the party that appears to have both the majority in the House and the reins of power at the federal level.
Even though the APC, which controls a majority of the House and has more than 160 members, is yet to choose its anointed candidate for the house leader, elected members from the aforementioned zones are said to be squabbling over control of the leadership positions of the house.
According to Abdullahi Adamu, the APC’s national chairman, the party will shortly pick who would control the crucial seats in the National Assembly (NASS).
“What is now left for us, as a party, is to sit and determine the remaining members of each of these principal officers”, Adamu said after meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the presidential villa after the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly.
“We’re going to sit over this and we want to believe that we’re going to waste no time whatsoever, we’ll come up with what we’ll give the President to get his buy-in before it’s made public or before it goes to the National Assembly. This day is very historic.”
However, according to a senior party official, the APC has not yet made up its mind about the candidates for the principal offices.
The source who spoke to Leadership Newspaper under the condition of anonymity claimed that the zoning of the National Assembly presiding officers had raised a group of oppositions and that the ruling party was involved in intense negotiations to prevent a resurgence of the opposition.
The South West, which unlike the North West and South East does not have a presiding officer for the House, is not thrilled about holding the position because it is likely that the Senate Leader will come from the region that produced the president.
The source said, “Of course, the chairman said that but they haven’t done it. They are doing broad consultations to avoid what happened when they zoned the presiding officers’ position.
“There was a hue and cry against the decision which almost cost the party, especially in the Senate where our candidate, Godswill Akpabio, escaped almost by the whiskers.”
He added: “The last two Senate Leaders, Senators Yahaya Abdullahi, and Ibrahim Gobir, were both from the North West geopolitical zone. It is therefore given that the next one would come from the South West as President Tinubu. Consequently, a House Leader would not come from the South West.”
The contest for the North-East House Leader is between Usman Bello Kumo (Gombe), co-chairman of the Joint Task Force in the 10th Assembly, whose group backed the Abbas/Kalu joint ticket’s campaign, and Muktar Betara (Borno), a front-runner for the Speakership who withdrew at the last minute.
Two previous North-Central contenders for the Speakership, Yusuf Adamu Gagdi of Plateau and Abdulraheem Olawuyi of Kwara are vying for the position of House Leader.
Even though it does not seem conceivable, Betara, who was Abbas’ main challenger before he quit, reportedly decided to maintain his post as the head of the Appropriations Committee from the previous set.
The source said, “While Betara was left with the option of emerging as House Leader and was already making moves to get the position, Kumo, the leader of the group that worked for Abbas, is also indicating interest in the position. That makes it a struggle between the Borno and Gombe lawmakers.”