SENATE PRESIDENCY: Opposition Parties Challenge APC Candidates as Zoning Crisis Escalates
President Bola Tinubu’s attempts to resolve the crisis over the All Progressives Congress (APC) zoning arrangement ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly have been unsuccessful, according to sources. The APC National Working Committee had micro-zoned the Senate President and Deputy Senate President seats, but several aspirants have refused to step down for the party’s consensus candidates. Opposition parties, claiming a majority, are planning to leverage their numbers to influence the election of the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, the PDP has entered into a working agreement with other opposition parties to protect the parliament from anti-democratic forces.During meetings with the President, lawmakers-elect assert that he did not directly endorse any candidates but emphasized the importance of unity and prioritizing the interests of their constituencies. While the President urged lawmakers to work with the APC’s zoning plan, aspirants are still lobbying and strategizing to challenge the party’s arrangement for the principal positions in the National Assembly.The opposition parties, aware of their majority status, are determined to have a say in the selection of the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives. The PDP confirmed that it is collaborating with its members-elect and other opposition parties to forge a common front. With the APC having a slight majority in both houses, opposition parties are eager to use their combined numbers to influence the outcome.The ongoing race for the leadership positions in the National Assembly has sparked intense political maneuvering and lobbying among the aspirants. While some aspirants have stepped down after Tinubu’s intervention, others remain firm in their bid for the positions. The PDP and Labour Party are yet to announce their candidates, but consultations and discussions are ongoing to reach a consensus.President Tinubu has reiterated the APC’s zoning plan and called on governors and lawmakers-elect to support the endorsed candidates. However, the President’s appeal has not been accompanied by direct endorsements for specific candidates. The situation remains fluid, and the outcome will only be clear after the inauguration of the 10th Assembly.In conclusion, the race for the leadership positions in the National Assembly remains unresolved as the APC’s zoning arrangement faces challenges from aspirants within the party and opposition parties. The coming days leading up to the inauguration will likely see intensified lobbying and negotiations as aspirants seek to secure support for their candidacies.