Newly elected lawmakers on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, on Monday, in Abuja, said the party would zone principal offices only after the conclusion of the governorship election holding on Saturday, March 18.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, amongst other lawmakers-elect, disclosed this to our correspondent after a meeting between the Senators-elect and House of Representatives members-elect and the party leadership held at the Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja.
The meeting, which comes barely two weeks after the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections, is the first between the newly-elected members of parliament and the party.
It followed rife speculations that the APC would use the medium to speedily zone principal offices in the two chambers of the 10th National Assembly to avert a repeat of the 2015 scenario where the party lost grip of the legislature despite retaining the most number of seats in both chambers.
However, the Speaker of the House, Gbajabiamila, said that the conversation did not entail any discussion about the NASS leadership because the elections were not over.
After the meeting, he said, “On the issue of zoning, we did not talk about it because we’re not there yet. We have an election coming up this weekend. And we need to ensure everybody goes back home, rolls up their sleeves and gets their hands dirty.
“I was in Lagos and I could not leave Lagos because I was campaigning for my party.
“We’re not there yet so we need to complete the victory before we start talking about the leadership of the National Assembly. The reason we didn’t discuss zoning is because we all agreed to tarry for a while until we finish the elections.”
A Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District and former contender for the APC chairmanship at the March 2022 primaries, Mohammed Musa, argued that discussing zoning at the first encounter would be premature as the party needed to consolidate its victory at the state levels.
That consolidation would mean the APC clinching the governorship offices in 30 states.
Musa said, “This is not the right time to discuss zoning. All we need now is to consolidate our victory. We have won the presidential election and we should be able to take at least 30 states.
“After the governorship election, we are going to gather again and by then we’ll take stock of what we have achieved and then the zoning system that the party wants to adopt will be announced to us. We have all agreed that all members will go with what the party decides.”
On his part, Senator Mohammed Ndume, who will represent Borno South in the 10th NASS, said the party leadership urged the lawmakers-elect to shelve their ambitions in the meantime and deliver their states to the APC come March 18.
“The party appealed to NASS members-elect to play down the leadership issues and focus more on ensuring that we take the election battle to the end. And that is to ensure that we win our states,” Ndume noted.