Northcentral political elders’ forum has disclosed that the Presidency and the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress, APC, are yielding to “massive” pressure to endorse the member representing Wase Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Idris Ahmed Wase, for the speakership position of the legislative house.
In a statement by the convener of the forum, Rufus Wadata, said the presidency’s decision to zone the position to the Northcentral was based on equity, fairness and a large turnout of votes from the zone.
“There are very strong indications that the Presidency is beginning to consider anointing Hon. Wase as speaker based on several positive factors.
“One, Hon. Wase is the most senior and most experienced legislator from the Northcentral zone (the zone being favored to produce the speaker based on equitable zoning).
“Secondly, it was found out that Hon. Wase enjoys tremendous popular support amongst members from various divides including the opposition.
“Hence, it is only by fielding a candidate like him who has popular support and can carry everyone along that the party can forestall any surprise move from the opposition,” the statement read in part.
Mr Wadata further revealed that the presidency had decided to withdraw their support and endorsement on Femi Gbajabiamila following insinuations that his candidature would pitch the lawmakers against each other and further create a problem for the party.
“It was found out that Femi is not very popular amongst his colleagues especially amongst opposition lawmakers who have actually ganged up and waiting to spring a massive surprise if the party goes ahead to anoint Femi as the party’s candidate.”
The convener, however, recalled that there was initially an unofficial inclination to zone the speakership to the southwest and further microzone it to Mr Gbajabiamila, saying: “In this respect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu proposed a list which he took to the president for approval. The president told them to go ahead and hold consultations with legislators.”
“After much consultations, Asiwaju had a meeting with Wase seeing that he is one of the strongest candidates with the backing of a lot of members. At this meeting, he told Wase to commit to working together with Gbaja wherever the speakership is zoned. Same thing was told to Gbaja.
“The president also met Wase and Gbaja and asked them to work together whichever way the speakership is zoned. One as a speaker and the other as a deputy. This move was aimed at forestalling as crack within the 2 major camps in the speakership campaign.
“Meanwhile, after the above gentleman agreement, there were strong moves by the Lagos axis to zone the speakership to the southwest and the deputy to the northcentral.
“To counter that move, certain powerful forces in the northcentral and other parts of the north started a massive campaign to insist that the speakership be zoned to the northcentral based on equity and fairness.
“All northcentral governors were met by selected members sympathetic to the cause of Wase. The Governors committed to fighting to ensure equity and fairness is done by zoning the speakership to the northcentral.
“Apart from northcentral governors, another northwest governor pushing for northcentral is Nasir El-rufai. He has met the President on several occasions on the matter,” the group pointed out.