HomeNationalTinubu meets Lawan, Gbajabiamila over National Assembly leadership

Tinubu meets Lawan, Gbajabiamila over National Assembly leadership

• National interest will inform choice of Senate President, says Lawan
• Faults reported intention to contest presidency in 10th Assembly
• APC non-serving senators beg Yari, Kalu, others to withdraw from race
• Women groups lobby Tinubu for deputy speakership, ‘juicy’ committees

With the June 13 inauguration of the 10th National Assembly drawing nearer, President Bola Tinubu, yesterday, met with Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, at the State House, Abuja.

This came as Lawan denied having any intention to contest the seat for the 10th President of the Senate, saying the choice of leadership would be determined by national interest.

The lawmaker also described reported endorsement of Gbajabiamila as Chief of Staff to the President as media speculation, even as he said it would be a welcome development if it became reality.

Speaking to newsmen at the end of their closed-door meeting, Lawan said: “What will inform emergence (of the next leadership) will be national interest, interest of the National Assembly, the legislature together. And therefore, everybody matters in this process.”

He said with Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima having been senators, the duo would wish people coming to occupy leadership positions would be propelled by national interest.

He said: “As the chairman of the 9th National Assembly, I find it dutiful and necessary to work with all the major stakeholders, especially, the leadership of our country, Mr. President, particularly, to give my necessary opinion and advise on how the new leadership of the National Assembly should emerge, and what we need to do to ensure stability, productivity of the National Assembly, and ensure peaceful atmosphere between the legislature and the executive arm of government.

“We are getting somewhere, and my prayer is that we will be able to resolve all outstanding issues by the grace of God. And Mr. President is positively disposed to everything being done smoothly.”

Speaking on speculations that he had indicated interest in contesting the presidency of 10th Assembly, Lawan said: “On a more serious note, I have never indicated interest to run for the office of the President of the Senate in the 10th National Assembly.

“We have worked together with distinguished senators of the 9th National Assembly and members of the House of Representatives to create a very clement environment for us to work.”

Asked to confirm trending report in sections of the media that Gbajabiamila has been tipped to be Chief of Staff to President Tinubu, Lawan said: “I am waiting for the announcement. You are speculating. You know you are…in the media. I’m not.

“First of all, I pray that comes to pass. If that happens, Mr. president would have made a very wise decision.”

At this moment, you need a Chief of Staff with very vast experience in the area of legislation, in the area of cooperating with the executive, which the Speaker spearheaded for the House.”

Meanwhile, non-serving All Progressives Congress (APC) senators and concerned stakeholders, including elder statesmen Segun Osoba and Tanko Yakasai, rose from a meeting in Abuja, yesterday, pleading with Senate Presidency aspirants to abide by the party’s zoning formula and avoid increasing tension in the country.

Speaking at an enlarged meeting of the APC Non-Serving Senators Group and Stakeholders in Abuja, the Convener, Senator Basheer Lado, called on aspirants in opposition to the party’s choice not to repeat mistakes of the past.

He called on them to withdraw their bids in the interest of peace, party cohesion and smooth takeoff of the Tinubu administration. Osoba said: “I want to appeal to you on two issues. Let us all organise a serious lobby system by convening a meeting of all aspirants for the position of Senate President in the 10th Senate to make them see reason why they should toe the line of the party.

“The party has decided on zoning and has zoned the positions. We cannot afford to start this government on another crisis. The fuel subsidy removal crisis is already there.

“Let us go back to our states and lobby our senators-elect to support the choice of the party. With this, I believe we shall achieve our goal without any hitch.”

Also, the leader of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Yerima Shettima, urged former Zamfara State governor and aspirant for the Senate Presidency, Abdulaziz Yari, to concede to former Abia State governor and Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu.

Shettima, who addressed journalists in Kaduna, yesterday, explained that allowing a person from the South East and a Christian to be Senate President would strengthen unity of the country.

This was as a coalition of 18 women groups across the country appealed to President Tinubu to ensure a woman is elected as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

While also demanding that, at least, two women be elected as Principal Officers, the coalition appealed to lawmakers to ensure women from the upper and lower chambers are elected to chair ‘Grade A’ committees.

Addressing journalists, on behalf of the coalition in Abuja, Executive Director, Gender Technical Unit (GTU), Ekwunife Anazonwu, regretted that women represent about 44 per cent of Nigeria’s voting population, yet less than five per cent of the 1,553 women who contested the 2023 elections across Nigeria were elected.

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