The All Progressives Congress, APC, is currently waiting for the outcome of the mediation efforts by its governors’ forum on the crisis rocking the party over the leadership tussle in the National Assembly. However, strong indications have emerged that the Aminu Tambuwal-led committee may recommend the zoning of the remaining four principal offices in the House of Representatives. According to Saturday Punch, the committee supported the stance of the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, that the positions should be shared by zones that had not produced any principal officers. The positions are; House Leader, the Deputy House Leader, Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip. Dogara’s group, at a meeting with Tambuwal on Wednesday had said that with the Speaker from the North-East and the Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun, from the South-West, the two zones were already represented in the leadership of the House.
The Dogara group, however, conceded the House Leader’s position to a former Minority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, but it insisted that the he (Gbajabiamila), must not occupy the position. The group had said that the former minority leader could nominate somebody, except from the South-West, for the position. But Gbajabiamila’s group had insisted that the Speaker must abide by the decision of the party leadership, which nominated the former minority leader as the House Leader. According to Punch, Tambuwal’s committee would recommend that other offices should be zoned.
The paper gathered that it would add a caveat that elections should be held to choose the officers, if the groups insist on their positions. A member of the House, who confided in the paper said, “As things are now, the committee will recommend that the remaining offices should be zoned or that elections should be held.” The paper also gathered that the recommendation on zoning might be rejected by the Gbajabiamila’s group because the emergence of Dogara and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, negated the principle of zoning. Saraki and Dogara are from the North. Dogara hails from the North-East, while Saraki is from the North-Central and President Muhammadu Buhari is from the North-West. Attempts by the paper to get the reaction of the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, were unsuccessful. Also its efforts to get the reactions of the Dogara group on Friday night were unsuccessful. However, on its part, the Gbajabiamila camp told Punch that it would not make a “full” response as it had yet to be briefed by either the Tambuwal committee or the governors’ forum. However, Mr. Nasir Zango-Daura, who spoke for the camp, said, “While we await official briefing from our governors, we would want the governors’ forum to be guided by Order 7 Rule 37 of the Standing Rules of the House which states that, ‘only members with cognate legislative experience as members of the National Assembly shall be eligible for appointment as principal officers.’ “Going by this provision, the South-East would definitely be represented on the Body of Principal Officers through the minority party where we only have ‘ranking’ South-East members of the House, who are qualified by the House Rules to be principal officers.” When contacted, the Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum, Dr. Salihu Lukeman, told Punch that the forum was waiting for the report of the committees set up by governors over the crisis to decide what step to take. Lukeman said, “The Progressives Governors Forum set up committees to look into the issue and we will appeal for patience for the committees to submit their reports before we can talk of any further action.” The paper also gathered on Friday that the feuding groups were insisting on election of the remaining positions if their respective positions were not accepted. Spokesperson for the group, Abdulmumini Jibrin, had on Wednesday explained that the group made concession to cede the position of House Leader to Gbajabiamila group for peace to reign