Ahead of today’s meeting with the National Assembly members-elect slated at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has elected to form a government of national unity, Vanguard can competently reveal.
Coming after the presidential election, which 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 disposed to the zoning of the Senate presidency of the incoming 10th National Assembly to the South East to assuage the feelings of real or perceived disparity among the people.
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 are embraced in his new government, regardless of their political inclinations in the last elections.
The source, 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 members-elect of the National Assembly.
He said Tinubu had already informed some of his proteges among the elected senators to start shopping for anyone from the South-East as the next Senate President.
‘Tinubu shopping for Senate President from S-East’
It would be recalled that despite the Labour Party’s “Obidient” wave in the South-East, the zone produced six senators from the ruling APC.
The source said Tinubu’s preference for a South-East Senate President might be made known at today’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 State House in Abuja.
“For the balance of power, our President-elect understands that to have a rancour-free administration, every region must be carried along and the South East is very paramount to him.
“He has confided in us his commitment to support the emergence of a Senate President from the South East for the sake of equity, fairness and justice, thus maintaining the balance of power and a sense of inclusion.
“In 2015, the South East was told to blame itself for not voting for APC, which could have given them the Senate Presidency.
“In 2019, they said the South East had no ranking senator but in 2023, there’s no excuse because the South East, despite the massive votes they gave to the Labour Party still voted for six APC senators, some of whom are ranking lawmakers.
“Tinubu has fully committed a Senate President of South East 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 in hijack of the National Assembly, as 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 of 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 have already shown interest.
He stressed that there was a need to provide an acceptable zoning direction that would be sensitive to the religious affinity of the incoming administration, especially as Tinubu and the Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shetima, are of the Islamic faith.
Headlinenews.news gathered that at the moment, five lawmakers are jostling for the position of the speaker without recourse to either religious sentiment or geopolitical zones.
Amongst the lot are Aliyu Betara representing Biu/Kwaya Federal Constituency of Borno State; Aminu Sani Jaji, former chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and intelligence in the 8th Assembly, who has been re-elected to represent Kaura Namoda/Birnin Magaji Federal Constituency of Zamfara State.
Also included is the current Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase from Plateau State; the current spokesman of the House, Ben Kalu and the Majority Leader of the 9th House, Ado Doguwa, who is currently undergoing trial for murder.
Gbaja tipped as Tinubu’s Chief of Staff
It was also learned weekend that the current speaker of the 9th House, 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.
El-Rufai/ Ganduje as SGF
Similarly, Headlinenews.news gathered that 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, Headlinenews.news gathered, yesterday 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.
Tinubu’s support groups root for Betara as speaker
Meanwhile, the Network of Tinubu Support Groups in Nigeria has urged the leadership of APC to back the member representing Biu/Bayo/Shani Federal Constituency of Borno State, Muktar Aliyu Betara, for the position of speaker in the 10th National Assembly.
At a briefing yesterday in Abuja, the group said Betara remained the most competent returnee lawmaker with an unblemished track record of excellence, integrity, and diligence.