Tinubu and Amaechi clash: The All Progressives Congress (APC) are now having issues as they try to figure out which gladiators will take valuable positions in the nation. According to This Day sources deep in the APC, the party which won the March 28, presidential election and secured majority seats in both the Senate and House of Representatives has three political blocs within.
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These blocs are said to be: the Buhari/Northern bloc which is made up of the president-elect and his supporters who have been with him for 12 years and collapsed their structures into the APC during the merger process; the Tinubu/South-west bloc led by the former Lagos state governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu; and the former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors who decamped to APC in 2013, led by the Rivers state governor, Chibuike Amaechi, and Senator Bukola Saraki.
The battle for political positions is now being championed by these three blocs.
The Tinubu bloc is said be behind the Senate minority leader, Senator George Akume, for the office of the Senate president, while the Amaechi bloc is pushing hard for the emergence of Saraki.One source deep in the camp revealed that Akume has the backing of Tinubu and his group, which is believed to be the strongest bloc in the party, but may not have the numbers in the Senate to push through their goal.
The bloc has three reasons why they want Akume in the position.
First, the source said that Akume has been with Tinubu’s group since its days in the ACN, culminating in his emergence as the Senate minority leader.
Second, he said Akume is senior to Saraki in the Senate, having been in the Senate since 2007 while Saraki became a senator in 2011.
Third, the source said Tinubu and his men understand Akume far better than Saraki who he said is not close to the bigwigs in the group as is Akume.
“The Tinubu group is backing Akume because Saraki seems to be more or less an outsider (to the group). Besides, Akume has long been in ACN and he is a senior to Saraki. He is also better understood by Asiwaju than Saraki,” the source said.
We also learnt that one other factor not in Saraki’s favour is his tribe as a Yoruba man, though geographically located in Kwara in North-central Nigeria.
However, the APC thinks they would have a tough time selling a Yoruba Senate president to the nation due to the vice-president-elect, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, is also being a Yoruba man from Ogun state in the south-west.
A source added that it would be a hard sell for two Yoruba men to become number two and three citizens respectively, even though they are from different geopolitical zones.
Despite this, Amaechi’s group wants Saraki in the position, while the agitation of north-east senators to produce the Senate president is said to have had the backing of the former vice-president Atiku Abubakar.
The senators had demanded the APC zone the position to their region, saying they are the most marginalised zone in the country.
This position is being supported by the former Gombe state governor, Danjuma Goje, who represents Gombe Central in the Senate, and by his counterparts in Yobe East and Yobe North, Bukka Abba Ibrahim and Ahmed Lawan respectively.
A senator from the south-west, Professor Olusola Adeyeye (Osun Central), has also indicated interest in the race.
We also learnt that given different contenders’ interest in the office, it may be difficult for the power brokers in the APC to reach a consensus with the contenders on who will become the next Senate president.
Hence, the source said if a stalemate prevails there may be a repeat of the episode in the House of Representatives in 2011 when members of the House opted to elect their speaker and deputy in violation of the ruling PDP zoning agenda which had zoned the two offices to the south-west and the north-east respectively.
It was against this background that Aminu Tambuwal from the north-west and Emeka Ihedioha from the south-east emerged the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively.
Given the emerging scenario, a source told us that the Senate might be forced to decide who leads them through an election that is based on the coalition built by each of the contenders for the post of Senate president among their colleagues.
The Senate president position had been held by David Mark but as the APC are now the majority, they have to find one of their own.
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