The lobby for who becomes Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives for the ninth National Assembly has begun in earnest.
This follows the National Assembly election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on February 23rd.
The All Progressives Congress has the highest number of lawmakers-elect for the ninth National Assembly and is understandably, set to present candidates for the National Assembly leadership.
Several meetings are already taking place to select and position candidates capable and loyal to the party for the positions.
Sources say the party’s leadership is working to ensure the positions are not hijacked as experienced during the 8th National Assembly.
“Our leaders are determined to correct this and are working on it,” a senior official of the APC told THISDAY yesterday, saying the growing consensus is that the Senate president should come from the North, while the Speaker of the House of Representatives should emerge from the South.
Accordingly, he said, the growing plan is to give the position of deputy president of the Senate to the South, while the deputy speaker post would be assigned to the North.
According to the reliable source, the thinking of the party leadership is that since the president is from the North-west, the Senate presidency should go to the North-east. The deputy Senate presidency, he added, is being contemplated for either the South-east or the South-south.
The source explained that the South-west is being tipped for the Speakership, while the North-central might get the deputy speaker slot.
Multiple presidency sources also revealed that presidential foot soldiers have gone to work, to identify and push its preferred candidates so as to have a better working relationship between the executive and the legislative arms of government.
A source hinted that for the position of Senate president, the current Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, was being tipped and might emerge as the preferred candidate of the party. He said the Leader of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, is also looking good as the party’s preferred candidate for the seat of Speaker.
According to the sources, the main argument for the choice of the duo is their ranking status. Both have been in the National Assembly since 1999 and have proved their loyalty and commitment to the party.
“Both of them having held leadership positions in the assembly and having demonstrated loyalty to the party, are found to be more suitable if the party is to avoid the stress of the last three and a half years plus,” a party source said.
However, mention is made of Senator Oluremi Tinubu, wife of the party’s National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, whose ambition to become the deputy president of the Senate might truncate the calculation of the party to allot the Speakership to the South-west.
“The South-west cannot pick up both positions,” a source said.