A statement made by the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John Odigie-Oyegun, over the ongoing race for top posts in the APC especially as regards leadership of the national assembly, indicates that the party wishes to exert as little interference as possible in the process.
All the top positions – Senate president, House speaker, and even the secretary to the government of the federation – are being fiercely contested.
Speaking to the Nation newspaper on Saturday, May 16,2015, about the issue and whether the party would implement a zoning arrangement for the offices, Odigie-Oyegun said that the party would “do what we did during the presidential primaries.”
He said that it was likely that the party would throw the positions open to anyone interested.
At the last presidential primaries of the party, even though there seemed to be an unwritten agreement that the candidate of the party would come from the North, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state in the South East participated nonetheless, while the remaining contenders came from the North West, North East and North Central.
Currently up to six political and geo-political blocs are lobbying for various positions. They include members of the New PDP who defected to APC, North-East, North-Central, South-West, South-East, and the South-South.
The South-East and the South-South seek the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation with Chief Odigie-Oyegun, a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, Governor Rotimi Amaechi, ex-Governor Chris Ngige and ex-Governor Ogbonnaya Onu tipped as the favourites.
The National Chairman of the APC, Chief Odigie-Oyegun, said: “We will throw these positions open, we will do what we did during the presidential primaries.
“There has been much noise these days. We will allow the members of the National Assembly to choose their leaders.
“Nobody is going to impose leaders on the Senators-elect and members-elect of the House of Representatives. Otherwise, there will be no stability.
“There are too many interests, let them sit down and decide who should be their leaders.
“We have got to a stage that we should allow them to elect their leaders on their own and move forward with our plans for the nation.”
A governor, who spoke in confidence, said: “We have started consultations because the polity is being heated up on how to share power in the new administration of General Buhari.
“While we consider the heat as normal in a democracy, we will not allow the jostle for power to cause crisis in our party. Some of us believe that once we get the take-off right, there will be stability for the new government.
“So far, six blocs have emerged in the party seeking for inclusion in the power sharing formula. They are New PDP, North-East, North-Central, South-West, South-East, and the South-South.
“Three of the most vocal blocs comprise of members of the defunct New PDP, the North-East and the South-West who are making a strong case for top positions.
“While the North-East is calling on the party to address its marginalisation and suffering under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, members of the New PDP said their sacrifices must be appreciated in the power sharing modules.
“The North-East said it delivered the second largest bloc votes after the North-West during the presidential poll.
“The South-West also claimed that it virtually lost relevance in the scheme of things under Jonathan and ought to be adequately compensated.
“These tendencies are at play in the jostle for the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and other principal officers of the National Assembly.
“We are trying to accommodate all these tendencies in such a manner that it will be a win-win situation for all.”