Aggrieved aspirants to leadership positions in the 10th National Assembly yesterday turned down overtures from persons purported to be acting on behalf of the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it was learnt.
A source close to one of the aspirants for Senate president said the aspirants were contacted on Saturday evening for a meeting in one of the high-brow hotels in Abuja.
Senator Abdulaziz Yari and Senator Orji Uzor Kalu are frontliners for Senate president. In the House of Representatives, the aspirants are Ahmed Idris Wase, Aliyu Murktar Betara, Sani Jaji, Sada Soli, Ahmed Gagdi and Mariam Onuoha. Jointly, they are called G-6 Aspirants Forum.
The source, who disclosed that the meeting was scheduled for yesterday at 8pm, said the aspirants got in touch with one another and turned down the meeting request.
“In politics, anything can happen; you cannot rule out surprises. So, upon consultations among themselves, they all declined, insisting they would rather meet the president-elect one on one for meaningful engagement”, the source told some reporters yesterday.
This comes as the Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila-led Unity Group is set to present signatories of lawmakers-elect in support of Tajudeen Abbas for the position of speaker to the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Gbajabiamila had last Wednesday confirmed his preferences for Abbas and Benjamin Kalu for the positions of Speaker and deputy respectively.
Gbajabiamila, who said he was also a loyal party who would never go against the decision of the party, added that his decision did not translate to hatred for other aspirants.
Confirming that the speaker would lead Abbas and other lawmakers to the ruling party’s national headquarters on Tuesday, a returning lawmaker from Osun State hinted that Abbas had the required numbers to scale through.
The lawmaker from Osun State, however, expressed worry that other aggrieved aspirants had not shown enough understanding.
“It is true we are meeting the NWC of the APC on Tuesday. Mind you, some of us are not members of their party but we believe in the choice put forward by the outgoing speaker. He would lead our team to meet with the national leadership of the APC.
“As of today, we are okay to form a majority to make Abbas speaker. We are only appealing to other APC aspirants to show understanding because if they don’t, the APC may end up losing out,” he said.
A short message sent to members of the Unity Group read:
“Good morning Hon members. Please be respectfully invited to accompany Hon Tajudeen Abbas, PhD, to a meeting with the national chairman and members of the national working committee (NWC) of APC on Tuesday, 23rd, 2023 at the party secretariat. Time 2pm. Please, members are to converge at Stratton Hotel by 12pm. Thanks and God bless.”
As of last week, the camps of the aspirants held strategy meetings in the light of concerns of not having a winnable majority to clinch the headship of the lower chamber.
As the Joint Task Force as well as the Unity Group met to review their plans, the G-6 aspirants met with opposition lawmakers-elect.