Ahead of Monday meeting with the National Assembly members-elect slated at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has moved to form a government of national unity, Vanguard reveals.
Coming after the presidential election whose outcome is perceived in some quarters as controversial, the moves were ultimately initiated to calm frayed nerves around the country and reunite the people.
It was learnt that already, the President-Elect is freely disposed to the zoning of the senate presidency of the incoming 10th National Assembly to the South East to assuage the feeling of real or perceived disparity among the people.
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A reliable source who craved anonymity told Vanguard that Tinubu has vowed to leave no stone unturned at ensuring that all parts of the country were embraced in his new government regardless of their political inclinations in the last elections.
The source who is a long standing associate of Tinubu further revealed that Tinubu’s cabinet will be devoid of lopsidedness or ethnic discrimination.
He added that it was one of the agenda to be discussed at the meeting with the members-elect of the national assembly.
He said that Tinubu was said to have already informed some of his proteges among the elected senators to start shopping for anyone from the Southeast as the next Senate President.
It will recalled that despite the Labour Party’s “Obidient” wave in the south east, the zone produced six senators from the ruling APC, thereby placing it in prime position for the office.
The source said that Tinubu’s preference for a South East Senate President may be made known on Monday’s closed door meeting of the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima; APC Senators and Members of the House of Representatives elect at the State House in Abuja.
“For balance of Power, our President elect understands that to have a rancor free administration, every region must be carried along and the South East is very paramount to him.
“He has confined in us his commitment to support the emergence of a Senate President from the Southeast for the sake of equity, fairness and justice, thus maintaining the balance of power and a sense of inclusion.
“In 2015, the Southeast were told to blame themselves for not voting for APC which could have given them the Senate Presidency. In 2019, they said the Southeast has no ranking Senator but in 2023, there’s no excuse because the Southeast despite the massive votes they gave to the Labour Party still voted for six APC Senators, some of whom are ranking lawmakers.
“Tinubu is fully committed a Senate President of Southeast extraction. I can confirm because he believes it is the right thing to do and the move will also calm frayed nerves in the South-East. He also wants to prevent unnecessary spending, bad blood lobbying which might culminate to hijacking of the National Assembly like it happened in 2015” the source disclosed.
According to the source, the President elect’s preferential candidate may be the Chief Whip and returning Senator, Orji Uzor Kalu who he said was a close ally to Tinubu.
Another issue the meeting is also expected to discuss is the zoning of the speakership of the 10th House.
According to the source, many ranking members of the House had already shown interests.
He stressed that there was a need to provide an acceptable zoning direction that will be sensitive to the religious affinity of the incoming administration in that Tinubu and the Vice President-Elect, Senator, Kashim Shetima are of the Islamic faith.
Vanguard gathered that at the moment, 5 lawmakers are jostling for the position of the speaker without recourse to either religious sentiment or geopolitical zones.
Amongst the lot are Hon. Aliyu Betara representing Biu/Kwaya federal constituency of Borno State; Aminu Sani Jaji, a former chairman of the House of Representatives committee on National Security and intelligence in the 8th Assembly who has been reelected to represent Kaura Namoda/Birnin Magaji federal constituency of Zamfara state; the current deputy speaker, Hon. Idris Wase from Plateau State; the current spokesman of the House, Hon. Ben Kalu and the majority leader of the 9th House, Hon. Ado Doguwa.
Gbajabiamila may be Tinubu’s Chief of Staff
Another source also told Vanguard that the current Speaker of the 9th House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, a protege of the President-elect representing Surulere 1 federal constituency of Lagos State is most likely to relinquish his seat in the next assembly for the position of Chief of Staff (CoS) to Tinubu.
Gbajabiamila was initially considered alongside the Minister of Works and Housing and former governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola who may be assigned another portfolio in Tinubu’s government.
Gov. el-Rufai/Gov. Ganduje as SGF
Similarly, Vanguard gathered that the Kaduna State Governor, Governor Nasir el-Rufai is being considered for the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
The choice of el-Rufai is however being weighed with that of Kano State governor, Umar Ganduje.
All the issues l, Vanguard gathered are expected to be tabled and discussed at the meeting with the aim of securing the commitment of everyone to form a common front before the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly in June.