By Emman Ovuakporie
Saturday Vanguard has reliably gathered that some All Progressives Congress, APC, Senators, and members of the House Representatives have concluded plans to work against the party’s candidates for the positions of the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The move which had been at its teething stage before now was said to have been emboldened by the party’s loss in Zamfara State and the recent validation of the victory of Senator Peter Nwoboshi.
The twin developments which increased the number of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lawmakers in both houses of the National Assembly, NASS, were said to have provided the numeric strength required to carry out the plan.
Accordingly, the number of PDP Senators increased to 51, while its members in the House of Representatives increased to 129 from 121.
Notwithstanding, Saturday Vanguard learned that the primary reason behind the move against the preferred choices, Sen Ahamed Lawan, and Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila was borne out of the desire for a NASS that would be free from interference by the executive.
Multiple sources, who revealed these, said some of the APC lawmakers in both houses have commenced demarketing the party’s preferred choices on the suspicions that they would end up as stooges.
A ranking Senator, who pleaded anonymity, noted that his camp has resolved for a competitive contest to allow members to elect the presiding officers of their choice.
Another source said Senators are reaching out to members of the House of Representatives from their states, asking them to work with a different candidate for the position of Speaker.
His words: “Although, our major concern is the independence of the National Assembly, we are being made to understand that if imposition is allowed, our party could become the biggest loser.
“In politics, it is better to win some and lose some, rather than lose all in an attempt to win all as it was in 2015 when our party and its government at the centre paid dearly for it.”
Another source in the House also told Saturday Vanguard that Gbajabiamila is underestimating the influence some outgoing members wield over their incoming successors.
The situation, he said, is making some of them work against Gbajabiamila’s ambition.
He cited an example of an incident involving a newly elected member whose trip to Umrah (lesser Hajj) in Saudi Arabia was allegedly sponsored by Gbajabiamila with a view to gain his support while his outgoing predecessor was ignored.
He said the outgoing lawmaker was also not hinted by Gbajabiamila of his speakership ambition which is why he is working against it.
“The new lawmaker whom Gbajabiamila sponsored to Saudi Arabia is back in the country, and today, he, alongside his predecessor held a meeting with their Senator where it was agreed that there’s a new direction to follow,” the source disclosed.
It was also gathered that as a result of these developments, pro-Umaru Bago members have reportedly moved in to consolidate their support base with certain incentives and promises to colleagues and friendly Senators.
Another factor said to be working against the party and its preferred candidates, a source said, is its lukewarm attitude towards state governors, who worked against its interest in the just concluded general election, a situation which led to the loss of many states to the opposition.
“Since the party could not speak with one voice at the polls to consolidate its hold on power from 2015, it shouldn’t impose NASS leadership on members as against section 50(1)(b) of the 1999 constitution.
“Members shall elect from amongst themselves presiding officers in the mold of Senate president and Speaker respectively provided they possess cognate legislative experience.
“If this portion of our constitution is not put into consideration it may smirk doom again for the party, ‘’ the source added.