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Tension As APC Throws NASS Leadership Contest Open after Endorsing Godswill Akpabio



The National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is set to throw the contest for the leadership positions in the 10th National Assembly open.

Recall that the party had announced Senator Godswill Akpabio (South-South) as its consensus candidate for Senate presidency and Senator Jibrin Barau (North West) as the favoured candidate for Deputy Senate President in the 10th Assembly.

The APC had also picked Tajudeen Abbas (North West) as its consensus candidate for the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Benjamin Kalu (South East) as the preferred candidate for the Deputy Speaker.

However, the zoning arrangement announced by the ruling party elicited angry reactions from lawmakers-elect who had declared their intention to contest for the principal offices.

Speaking to TRACKNEWS correspondent on Wednesday, sources said the APC NWC is suspecting that its proposed zoning may be thwarted, and it is recommending to the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, that the contest be thrown open.

The APC stalwart also stated that the party leadership gathered that the aggrieved aspirants known as the G-6 have already adopted a consensus candidate among themselves.

He said: “It appears the National Working Committee is suspicious that their plan may not go as planned and that is why they are recommending a free contest.

Secretly, they have recommended a free contest because they (NWC) have intelligence that the G-6 aspirants have already adopted a consensus candidate among themselves but they have not revealed the identity of that person.

“The G-6 aspirants are confusing the party, the Gbaja boys are also confused because they don’t know who they are throwing up.”

Another source told Vanguard that the G-6 speakership aspirants might have settled to pick a deputy speaker from the South-South geo-political zone.

He said: “Secondly, they have got concrete information that the G-6 is going to the South-South to pick their deputy.”

Also speaking, a lawmaker-elect said the party leadership needs to quickly address the zoning arrangement in order not to allow the issue to fester into a party crisis.

The APC chieftain also revealed that there is credible intelligence that the aggrieved aspirants who have formed the G-6 are already in an alliance with the opposition parties.

He said: “There are issues and they need to be confronted because the more we delay in solving the issues once and for all, the more we keep on having fresh ones.

“For instance, we have credible intelligence that the aggrieved aspirants who have formed the G-6 are already in an alliance with the opposition parties.

“Initially, we thought it was not going to work but we gathered credible information that they swore to themselves not to betray one another and went ahead to concede the deputy speakership slot to the opposition parties.

“We first considered it an act of indiscipline and anti-party but in a second thought, we needed to be smart to throw the contest open to all aspirants. Whoever wins at every point is after all a party man.

“Some suggested that they should be sanctioned but we looked at the bigger picture because we must learn from experience as party administrators. What are the consequences for those aspirants? And what are those consequences on the party as a whole?

“So, the message the party chairman gave to Senator Akpabio and his team when they visited was a coded message. It is left for them to decode it because it is difficult to do another rejoinder to repudiate what we had said earlier on zoning.

“More importantly, our initial thought was that the aggrieved aspirants would quickly adopt someone amongst them but they are also smart enough not to do so for now.

“That keeps the suspense high and it will be risky to allow them to do the damage by allying with the opposition parties swiftly on the floor of the parliament that day.

“Of course, we know too well that most of the people milling around Akpabio or Abbas are playing politics. So, what is the guarantee that all are with us?

“So we have decided to slow down and lower our tone on streamlining to individuals; let all those interested come out to contest because if we don’t allow that to happen, the gang up of the aggrieved APC aspirants and the opposition will be too risky for us.”

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