APC “sad” over South East’s loss of Senate President, Speaker; to zone slots soon

John Oyegun

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, John Oyegun, has said the party leadership has slated a crucial meeting to decide the power sharing formula after Saturday’s governorship and house of assembly polls.

Mr. Oyegun, who stated this in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Monday, said the major agenda of the meeting would be to take a decision on which of the zones would produce the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

With the president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, from the North West and his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo for the South West zones, the South East zone was expected to produce either the Senate President of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the APC-led federal administration which begins May 29.

However, the party did not win any senatorial or House of Representatives seat in the South East in the March 28 National Assembly election. All 15 seats in the zone comprising Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo were won by the PDP candidates.

A former governor of Anambra State and serving senator, Chris Ngige, who was being positioned to occupy the Senate President seat, suffered defeat at the hands of a serving member of the House of Representatives, Uche Ekwunife of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Ahead of the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly session, some zonal chapters of the APC are already demanding that the positions be zoned to them.

The National Vice Chairman of the party in the North East zone on Sunday demanded in a statement that either of the positions be zoned to it as compensation for turning in large number of votes for the party during the presidential and national assembly elections.

There are also speculations that the APC leadership would zone the positions to the North Central and South-South zones.

A former governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki, and the Senate Minority Leader, George Akume, himself a former governor of Benue State, are said to have begun positioning themselves for the office of the Senate President should the party leadership decides in favour of the zone.

Party sources said if the party finally takes this decision of the zone or the South-South, it would give the position of the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to the South East, with a former Chairman of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party, Ogbonnaya Onu, occupying it.

However, Mr. Oyegun said the party hierarchy was yet to take a decision on power sharing arrangement in the light of the outcomes of the presidential and national assembly polls.

“The party has not taken any position on it (power sharing) because we are still going through elections,” Mr. Oyegun told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview.

“We’re going to meet after the elections to take decisions on this matter but as we speak we have not taken any decision in the light of the outcomes of the last elections.”

The APC national chairman refused to go into details on the thinking of the party, insisting that until the leadership meets, it would be wrong to point out the direction the decisions will go.

Mr. Oyegun however expressed sadness that the South East zone did not only vote against his party but could not also produce ranking lawmakers that could have taken either of the Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representatives slots.

“It is really sad,” he said. “You heard the governor (Rochas Okorocha of Imo State) the other day when he talked about the way things went there. It is a peculiar politics being played. But we thank God.”

Mr. Oyegun, who was the vice presidential candidate of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party in the 2011 presidential election, expressed joy that he led the APC to the historical victory in the March 28 presidential election.

According to the Third Republic governor of Edo State, he had been working towards making opposition take over from the ruling PDP in the last 10 years and the fusion of some opposition parties into the APC had made that possible.

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