Some lawmakers-elect, who attended the closed-door meeting with President Bola Tinubu on Thursday at the Presidential Villa Abuja, have said the president did not tell them who to vote for during the election of the leadership of the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Adamu Ranga and Paul Nnamchi told journalists after the meeting that the president merely advised them to work for the country’s unity and choose good leaders among themselves.
Mr Tinubu met with the senators-elect and members-elect of the House of Representatives ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly on Tuesday.
The president and his party, APC, are backing a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, and a senator representing Kano North, Barau Jibrin, for the senate president and deputy senate president.
Tajudeen Abbas from Kaduna State and Benjamin Kalu from Abia State are the preferred choices of the president and the ruling party for speaker and deputy speaker of the House.
But some aspirants have kicked against the choices and vowed to remain in the race.
Among them are a former Zamfara governor, Abdulaziz Yari, a former Abia State governor, Orji Kalu, Osita Izunaso and Sani Musa, all members of the APC.
They have refused to withdraw from the race because they allege the president and the party are unfair to them. They also threaten to form alliances against the president’s choices of the president and the party.
In the lower chamber, outgoing Deputy Speaker Idris Wase, Yusuf Gagdi, Muktar Betara, Sada Soli and Miriam Onuoha have also refused to withdraw from the race. Some have formed a group known as G-7 to forge ahead with their ambitions.
What Tinubu told us
Mr Ranga, elected to represent Ningi/Warji Federal Constituency of Bauchi State, said the president did not mention the names of his preferred choices for the National Assembly leadership positions at the meeting but merely asked to work together to choose good leaders.
“The lawmakers were told to work together to choose good leaders in the 10th National Assembly,” Mr Ranga said.
“Mr President spoke to the general assembly of both the Senate and the House of Representatives in order to ensure that we have a solid government. Second, he emphasised that he will perform an open-door policy for everybody.
“Whoever wants to see him can see him without any hindrance. And whatever you want to discuss with him, he will give you that privilege to discuss,” he noted.
“Thirdly, he said we should put our constituency first since we are here to represent them. He mentioned that he wants the Senate and the House to cooperate in electing good leaders.”
On his part, Mr Nnamchi said the president appealed to all the lawmakers-elect to ignore their political differences and work for national unity.
“He appealed that we should forget about party politics and face national interest. That was the major part of his speech.
“He didn’t mention anybody’s name to be voted for. Maybe he is appealing, but I didn’t hear anybody’s name,” Mr Nnamchi, the lawmaker-elect for Enugu East/Isiuzo Federal Constituency of Enugu State in the House of Representatives, said.