APC caucuses vow to enforce party’s decisions

March 30, 2019
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Members of the All Progressives Congress caucuses in the National Assembly have agreed to co-operate with the  party leadership in ensuring that APC’s official candidates for  principal positions in the two chambers are elected.

This is the outcome of preliminary meetings of the various zonal caucuses of the party in the National Assembly.

In attendance at the meetings were old and newly elected lawmakers of the party.

The discussions, The Nation gathered, were to get members to accept the decision of the party which, last week endorsed Dr. Ahmed Lawan as its candidate for Senate President.

Incumbent and newly elected APC Senators met last Thursday in Abuja to discuss the zoning arrangement currently being worked out by the party and to lend their support.

Our sister publication, The Nation on Saturday, reported yesterday that the party has zoned the five offices as follows: Deputy Senate President (Southsouth); Senate Leader (Northcentral); Deputy Senate Leader (Northwest); Chief Whip (Southeast/Southwest) and Deputy Chief Whip (Southwest/Southeast).

Sources said the party plans to allow the zonal caucuses of Senators-elect to have a say  in how the remaining principal offices will be filled.

In effect, the party will only announce  names of  chosen  senators for the remaining offices after the zonal caucuses will have  met to make their  input into the process and more consultations held with stakeholders within and outside the ruling party.

A senator-elect from the Southwest told  The Nation  yesterday  that   APC lawmakers have commenced meetings at zonal caucus level  to make an input into how the Senate offices will be filled  in line with the  recent directive by the APC national leadership.

He said the ongoing intervention by the Oshiomhole-led NWC of the party is pleasing to members of the caucuses.

His words:”We are elated by the fact that once the positions are zoned to the various geographical areas, we, as senators and senators-elect, are going to make an input into how the final choices of the party will emerge.

“Contrary to what some uninformed persons are saying, the whole process is absolutely democratic. We have been meeting as zonal caucuses to discuss the issues and we are making a lot of progress.

“One thing we have resolved within the various caucuses is that the decision of the party will be final and none of us would be allowed to go against it. I want to tell you categorically that no APC lawmaker will contest against the choices of the party on inauguration day. That is the assignment we have given ourselves as members of our various caucuses. We have all pledged to vote as blocs from our respective caucuses on inauguration day.

“It has become easier to monitor compliance because it is being done at zonal caucus level. No senator is listening to any lobby from outside his or her own caucus. What we have resolved is that every member should go back to his or her zone and emerge as a candidate. Once you don’t get the nod of your colleagues for a position, you cannot reach out to us. It is that simple.”

As part of efforts by the zonal caucuses to enforce the NWC’s decision, House of Representatives members-elect from the Southwest last Friday held a parley at the Ibadan Business School, Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo State and announced their resolve to support the party’s decision on the NASS leadership issues.

Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, Rep-elect from Ondo State, and Musliudeen Akinremi from Oyo State, led the group’s deliberations.

Other Reps-elect who helped coordinate the close door meeting are James Owolabi from Lagos, Peter Owolabi from Ekiti and Lanre Edun from Ogun. They said as loyal party members, they had no objection to the party’s position on how the offices of the next National Assembly should be filled.

“We had a fruitful deliberation during the meeting which lasted over three hours. All of us agreed on the party’s supremacy and the need to rally support for the success of President Muhammadu Buhari administration when we are inaugurated in June this year.

“We all agreed to abide by the consensus arrangement of the party in choosing the house leadership. We pledged to protect the interest of the party, especially on the need to make APC stronger,” Akinremi said.

The Nation gathered  that the APC NWC will meet this week to decide on the formula for zoning the House of Representatives offices although some  sources said  the position of   Speaker may have been ceded to the Southwest.

“The NWC planned to hold a meeting to resolve the zoning of the lower chamber offices late last week but it was called off abruptly.

“This week, the meeting will hold and the zoning of House of Representatives offices will be announced. Already, we have an understanding that the decision of the party on the matter will be allowed by all and sundry to prevail. We have the majority to effect a total control of the leadership of the house and that is exactly what we plan to do.

“Every zonal caucus of the House is already aroused to the assignment of getting its members, be they returning legislators or legislators-elect, to abide by the resolution of the APC on the matter and vote accordingly on inauguration day.

“We have learnt our lessons and I can only tell those waiting to benefit from a possible disagreement among us on that day that they will have to wait forever,” a member of the House of Representatives from Lagos State, said.

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