…Presidential backing for Omo-Agege, Plot against House Leader uncovered
Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila look good to carry the day in tomorrow’s election for Senate President and House Speaker – thanks to President Muhammadu Buhari’s backing.
All Progressives Congress (APC) governors are also backing the duo and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who has secured the President’s support for Deputy Senate President.
Buhari is backing Omo-Agege because he wants the slot for the Southsouth, The Nation learned last night.
He has also pleaded with APC governors to support him in his drive to give the geopolitical zone a sense of belonging,.
Buhari’s position is to avert any crisis in the APC Senate Caucus ahead of tomorrow’s election of principal officers.
The latest development has foreclosed the aspiration of four other senators-elect eyeing the seat.
The other aspirants are Ex-Abia Governor Orji Uzor Kalu (Southeast); Ajayi Borrofice (Southwest); Francis Alimikhena (South-south); and Kabiru Gaya (Northwest).
The governors were to meet yesterday evening on Omo-Agege’s project and nominees for four other principal offices based on geopolitical zones.
The offices left for APC are Senate Majority Leader; Senate Deputy Majority Leader; Chief Whip; and Deputy Chief Whip.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Young Progressives Party (YPP) are expected to produce the Senate Minority Leader and the Senate Deputy Minority Leader.
President Buhari is likely to meet with the senators-elect in Abuja today.
It was learned that the President showed his preference for Omo-Agege at a session with APC governors at the weekend, thus clearing the air following the dispatch of a 20-man delegation to the APC leadership on the choice of Deputy Senate President and other principal officers.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The President told the governors that he wanted Omo-Agege because of the need to integrate the Southsouth and his loyalty to the party.
“Buhari implored the governors to assist him to work for the victory of Lawan and Omo-Agege. He was passionate about the two positions and left us to collaborate with the party to determine candidates for four other offices.”
The President, said the source, told the governors that all the candidates from other zones are good for the office but the South-South’s latest commitment to national integration ought to be appreciated.
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“Based on the assignment given to the governors, a meeting has been fixed for Sunday (last) night to appeal to other contestants and to pick those who will occupy the other four offices.
“We need to weigh options and balance the appointments in line with the existing geopolitical zones. With the Senate President conceded to the Northeast and the deputy from the South-south, the remaining zones are Southeast, Southwest, Northwest, and Northcentral,” the source said.
Some of the other aspirants may be considered for any of the remaining principal offices, he said, adding: “Again, sensitive offices already occupied by candidates from the four remaining zones will have to be considered in ensuring fairness to all.”
APC governors have relocated to Abuja to join the lobbying team for Lawan and Omo-Agege because they think PDP may have a joker.
A governor, who spoke in confidence, said: “The President said we should do our best to keep the APC Caucus united in the two chambers and ensure victory for our members as principal officers.
“It is obvious that horse-trading is done at least 48 hours or 24 hours to the election. With the insistence of the National Assembly management on a secret ballot, we won’t take things for granted.
“But our major job is in sharing all the principal offices in a manner that will give everyone a sense of belonging,” the governor said, pleading not to be named.
Senators-elect have been put on notice for a session with the President today.
He said: “The meeting is just to put things in order, allay fears and ensure that all is well within the APC Caucus before the election.”
“Buhari is really involved in this campaign this time around unlike in 2015 when he allowed complacency to set in. But having paid the price with a hostile National Assembly, he is taking his destiny in his own hands.”