Arising from a meeting in Abuja Thursday night, the national leaders and national caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have officially zoned the office of the Senate President in the 8th Senate to the North central geo-political zone, while the Speaker of the House of Representatives was zoned to the North-east geo-political zone.
A source at the APC meeting which lasted till the wee-hours of Friday told THISDAY that the party leaders accepted in principle a prototype office sharing formula that would accommodate all vested interests within the party.
The source said: “After deft negotiations, the leaders agreed to cede the position of the Senate President to the North-central and that of the Speaker of the House of Representatives to the North-east. They also endorsed a zoning arrangement that would see the South-west producing the Deputy Senate President and South-south, Deputy Speaker.”
With the agreement yesterday, the current minority leader in the Senate, George Akume from Benue State and Senator Bukola Saraki from Kwara State are expected to engage each other in a fierce contest for the Senate Presidency.
It was learnt that the position of the Speaker was earlier allotted to the South-west but had to be moved to North-east following a strong lobby by leaders from the zone who argued that such arrangement was necessary to compensate them for the massive support for the party during the election.
Apart from the sharing arrangement for the principal positions, the APC meeting which had personalities like the former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu and some governors in attendance also considered the issue of ministerial appointments.
In line with THISDAY exclusive story yesterday, the APC leaders also zoned the office of the Chairman of its Board of Trustees (BoT) to Adamawa State, where the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is set to clinch the position that was hitherto held by the former governor of Osun State and former national chairman of the party, Bisi Akande.
The source hinted further that the party zoned the office of the Majority Leader of the Senate to the South-west.
However, South-east did not get any position in the current allocation but according to a top notch APC member, the zone will be compensated by other appointments to ensure some balance and equity. In all the eight senatorial seats in the zone, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won all the seats. This has made it impossible for the zone to aspire for any principal office in the senate.
The same thing happened in the zone for the House of Representatives. No single member of the House of Representatives from the zone is from the APC. PDP won all the National Assembly seats in both arms of the National Assembly. In fact, in the Presidential Election, the APC did not score up to 15 percent in any of the states in the southeast.
Another source at the Abuja meeting said the APC chieftains could not however conclude deliberations on the ministerial appointments as it was decided that stakeholders in the states and zonal levels should go back to the areas to hold consultations on the matter.
It was resolved that the state chapters of the party would each nominate three persons for ministerial consideration and are to submit same to the party through the Vice Chairmen and Deputy National Chairmen on or before Tuesday next week.
The source added that another meeting of the party leadership is scheduled to hold on Tuesday where they hope to harmonize issues and finalize discussions on the recommendations to be presented to the National Executive Committees (NEC) of the party.
“While the President- elect, General Muhammadu Buhari had asked the party to discuss the issue of ministerial appointments and to advise him as appropriate, he has insisted on retaining the transition committee list. Buhari had in choosing members of the transition committee made sure that each of them is tested expert in the various sectors where they will serve. He was said to be very conscious of their level of integrity and honesty,” added the source.
A top member of the APC who spoke to THISDAY last night on condition of anonymity said: “All the positions said to have been shared are yet to be firmed. Nothing can be confirmed until the final meeting next week.” He advised that all reports about sharing of positions should be disregarded until next week when a final decision would be taken.