….Uzodinma said, “[APC] chairman never said they are on their own. The National Assembly leadership belongs to our great party.”

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has distanced itself from the National Assembly’s majority leadership positions announced by Senate President Godswill Akpabio and House of Representatives Speaker Tajudeen Abbas.

Akpabio and Abbas had announced the emergence of new principal officers during Tuesday’s plenary.

Akpabio said the announcement was in line with agreements by the caucuses of the majority and the minority parties.

In the Senate, Akpabio named Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti) as Majority Leader; David Umahi (APC, Ebonyi), Deputy Majority Leader; Mohammed Ali Ndume (APC, Borno), Senate Majority Whip; and Lola Ashiru (APC, Kwara), Deputy Majority Whip.


Other minority principal officers are Senator Olalere Oyewumi (PDP, Osun West), Deputy Minority Leader; Senator Darlington Nwokocha (LP, Abia Central), Minority Whip and Senator Rufai Hanga (NNPP, Kano Central), Deputy Minority Whip.

The Senate Minority Caucus is made up of PDP with 36 senators; LP, 8; SDP, 2; NNPP, 2; YPP, 1; and APGA, 1.

Speaker Abbas named Julius Ihonvbere (APC, Edo) as Majority Leader; Abdullahi Ibrahim Halims, (APC, Kogi), Deputy Majority Leader; Usman Bello Kumo (APC, Gombe), the Chief Whip; and Adewunmi Oriyomi Onanuga (APC, Ogun), Deputy Chief Whip.

Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), the preferred candidate of the ex-governor, Nyesom Wike, emerged as Minority Leader of the house.

Ali Madaki (NNPP, Kano) was named as the Deputy Minority Leader; Ali Isa of PDP, Minority Whip; and George Ebizimawo of Labour Party, Deputy Minority Whip.

The speaker said all the members of the APC in the house endorsed the selection of the principal officers from the ruling party.

But the national chairman of APC, Abdullahi Adamu, yesterday said the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) was not aware of the emergence of principal officers of the 10th National Assembly.

Speaking during a meeting with governors who are members of the party at the APC national secretariat yesterday in Abuja, Adamu said the party has not officially communicated with the presiding officers.

He said, “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, the NWC, has not given any such information or communicated about the choice of officers. 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 is made is not from this secretariat.”

But the Imo State governor and chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Hope Uzodinma, said Akpabio and Abass have the backing of the party’s governors on choice of principal officers of the 10th National Assembly.

He spoke with newsmen shortly after a meeting between the governors and the National Working Committee (NWC) at the APC national secretariat in Abuja.

Uzodinma said, “[APC] chairman never said they are on their own. The National Assembly leadership belongs to our great 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 Progressive Governors’ Forum and that of our party. We don’t have any problem at all.”

How minority leaders emerged

Daily Trust gathered that Senators Mwadkwon and Oyewumi were named as Minority Leader and deputy respectively without the input of the PDP, the major opposition party in the Senate.

The party had, on Monday, said it would communicate to Akpabio to stay action on filling the position of the Senate minority leadership, noting that consultation was still ongoing.

In a statement issued after the PDP NWC meeting by the National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, on Monday, the party said, “The nominations into the minority leadership positions in the Senate have not been concluded and that upon conclusion, the nominated list will be formally conveyed to him appropriately for necessary action.”

It was further learnt that 38 out of the 50 opposition senators voted for the minority leaders.

Senator Garba Musa Maidoki (PDP, Kebbi South) faulted the procedure through which the minority leaders emerged without the input of the party, saying the system should not be encouraged.

But the new Senate Majority Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, while defending the method adopted in selection of minority leadership, said the process was not entirely a political party affair “because it wasn’t a typical situation where you have one opposition party but rather six political parties were involved.

“Fifty of our colleagues were involved. So rather than it being a decision to be taken at the secretariat of political parties, it was more of a decision taken by members who were elected on the platform of the six minority parties.

“Thirty eight of them by virtue of their signature took a decision as to who their leaders would be and of course this was also communicated to their respective political parties and as democrats, all the presiding officers did was to follow suit because more than a single majority had decided.”

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