From Romanus Ugwu, Fred Itua and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is set on collision course with lawmakers elected on its platform in the National Assembly as it disowned the list of principal officers announced by the leadership of both chambers, yesterday.
The party’s National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, stated this during the meeting between the NWC and Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) in Abuja, describing the announcement as rumours.
He said aside the Senate president, his deputy, Speaker and the deputy, the party and the NWC were unaware of any other choices of principal officers.
The former Nasarawa State governor said the meeting was for the NWC to formally inform the governors of the composition of the party’s caucus according to the constitution of the party.
“You will get an update on the National Assembly sharing of powers, particularly the leadership of the chambers. The election of the principal officers of the Senate by the Senate President and Deputy Senate President. The election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives have been determined and announced.
“I had a courtesy call on Saturday from the President of the Senate and his Deputy. The following Sunday, I received the Speaker and his deputy coming to me for Sallah’s homage. But, I am just hearing a rumour now from the online media that there have been some announcements in the Senate and House of Representatives. The national headquarters of the party of the NWC has not given any such information or communicated about the choice of offices.
“And until we formally resolve and communicate with them in writing which is the norm and practice, it is not our intention to break away from traditions. So whatever announcement done either by the President of the Senate, Deputy Senate President, Speaker or Deputy Speaker, is not from this Secretariat.
“We are going to formally inform you that we are going to have a caucus, and for quite a time, there has been no caucus in place. The caucus has been reconstituted according to the constitution of APC.
“And we will be discussing that with you as governors, you know your states more than we know it. Even if we come from the same state, the leadership is in you as governors.
APC governors under the platform of PGF have promised to wade into the misunderstanding.
The Forum chairman and Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, made the promise while dismissing fears that Adamu had declared war on the Akpabio and Abbas-led NASS leadership.
Speaking after the meeting between, Uzodimma said the governors would deploy all internal resolution mechanisms to resolve any misunderstanding in the party.
“Chairman never said they are on their own, the National Assembly leadership belongs to our great party and they are members of our party, they are members of our party and they enjoy our support. If there is any way that there is a communication gap anywhere, we will make it up and we have our internal mechanism of resolving such things. The National Assembly leadership enjoys the support of PGF and that of our party. We don’t have any problem at all,” Uzodinma said.
On the thrust of the meeting, the PGF boss said: “We met with NWC and reviewed among other things the outcome of the 2023 elections and identify areas that the party has to work more to strengthen the general polity and encourage the government to be able to roll out their policy.”
Speaking earlier in his introductory remarks, the Imo governor assured the party’s leadership of their readiness to defend the policies of the Federal Government.
Leader of the Senate, Opeyemi Bamidele, has defended the decision by the upper legislative chamber to pick its principal officers contrary to established arrangements, where political parties send names to the President of the Senate.
Former Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal and former Senate leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume failed to clinch the two most coveted positions in the Upper Legislative Chamber.
Tambuwal had declared his intention for the minority leadership position but forces against his ambition truncated it at the last minute, despite repeated push by former governors in the Red Chamber. It was the same fate suffered by Ndume, who was Senate leader in the 8th National Assembly, as he lost his bid to become the leader of the 10th Senate to Opeyemi Bamidele.
Speculations had been heightened that the position of the Senate leadership was between Bamidele from Ekiti Central and Ndume from Borno South.