National Working Committee of All Progressives Congress on Monday ordered all its party’s members-elect in National Assembly to vote Messers Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila as Senate President and Speaker of House of Representatives, respectively during the inauguration of the 9th federal legislature on Tuesday (today).
NWC gave the directive after a meeting with APC governors and its members-elect in National Assembly in Abuja on Monday.
This is as Peoples Democratic party directed its members-elect to vote the former Senate Majority Leader, Messers Ali Ndume, and Umar Bago both of the APC, as the 9th National Assembly’s Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives, respectively.
APC NWC’s meeting also endorsed Messers Ovie Omo-Agege and Idris Wase as Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker, respectively.
Ndume from Borno State, who had also declared for the Senate President, was absent from the APC meeting.
Among the contestants absent from the APC meeting were Messers Francis Alimikhena, Kabiru Gaya and a former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.
Addressing journalists at the end of the meeting, APC National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, said, “We have all agreed as a caucus to endorse Lawan for Senate President and Omo-Agege as Deputy Senate President.
“We have also agreed to endorse Gbajabiamila as Speaker of the House of Representatives and Wase as deputy speaker. These four are APC nominees for the respective positions. The governors and members-elect were unanimous in adopting this position.”
He thanked other aspirants for agreeing to step down despite being qualified to contest the positions in order to preserve the unity of APC and the interest of the country at large.
Specifically, Oshiomhole thanked Mr Danjuma Goje from Gombe State for stepping down for Lawan and Mr Francis Alimikhena for assuring him to support Omo-Agege.
He also thanked Messers Ajayi Boroffice (Ondo State), Olusegun Odebunmi and Nkiruika Onyejeocha among others for agreeing to step down for the party’s candidates.
Oshiomhole noted that those that stepped down were eminently qualified to contest the positions.
“They offered to step down as a mark of honour for the President and leadership of the party. They are all unanimous to back these candidates as APC candidates for the good of the country,” he said.
Oshiomhole commended Lawan and Gbajabiamila for travelling the length and breadth of the country to woo members of the opposition in order to build bipartisan cooperation, which he noted, had been helpful to their course.
“I believe together we will work to take Nigeria to the next level,” he said.
Oshiomhole urged Ndume to respect the party’s position, which he said, was the position of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He added, “For now we are still trying to talk to Ndume but I believe he is a democrat; he understands that it is important to listen to the voice of the majority and accept the decision of the majority. It is all about sacrifice.
“For those who have agreed to step down, they did so because they realised at a point in time, only one person will lead.
“I believe that my friend, Ndume, will not be a lone ranger; he will respect the party and the President who is the leader of the party. I do not have any fear that he will respect the decision of the party.”
Earlier, NWC had urged all aspirants for the presiding officers of the 9th National Assembly to step down and support the anointed candidates of the party.
The party made the declaration at the end of its NWC emergency meetings held over Saturday and Sunday.