The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has mandated its members in the House of Representatives to select their principal officers and inform the party of their decision today.
The party, according to a reliable THISDAY source, met the House members last Friday and mandated them to select their principal officers like the Senate had done in a cordial atmosphere.
However, THISDAY gathered that former speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, is being tipped as the natural choice to fill the slot of minority leader.
“In any case, as former speaker, he has assumed leadership naturally and has been the one co-ordinating our members in the House,” a reliable party source said, adding: “He is good to get it except he declines the offer.”
According to a source that spoke with THISDAY, the meeting was presided over by the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, saying the party chose the option to avoid allegation of imposition of the PDP principal officers on members.
“At the meeting, the party’s members of the House were in attendance and the party directed that they should meet on their own and inform the NWC of those chosen before Tuesday. The party does not want to be accused of any preferential treatment,” the source stated.
The source said the Tuesday deadline was given because of pressure from the National Assembly leadership that is waiting for the minority inputs into its committees it has set up to treat some assignments, including allocation of offices and committees chairmanship and membership.
Although the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is yet to appoint its leadership of both chambers, the source said this is not an issue since the party already has the Senate presidency and House speaker that could represent its interests during the assignments.
The offices for grab include that of the Minority Leader, Deputy Minority Leader, Minority Whip and Deputy Minority Whip.
It was gathered that two members of the House of Representatives from Delta State, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and Dr. Ossai Ossai, are also angling for minority leader.
The minority leader in the eigth House of Representatives was Dr. Leo Ogor, who did not return to the ninth Assembly.
Last week, after a three-hour meeting of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) with its senators, the party announced Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia State) as the Senate minority leader; Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba State) as deputy minority leader; while Senator Philip Aduda (Federal Capital Territory) was picked as minority whip and Senator Clifford Ordia (Edo State) got deputy minority whip.
Meanwhile, the APC national leadership is also targeting filling the post of principal officers of the two chambers of the National Assembly on or before the July 2 resumption of plenary.
The party leaders, it was learnt at the weekend, might meet this week with its members in the National Assembly to decide on lawmakers to occupy the posts of principal officers.
The meeting is to be presided over by the party’s National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives had upon inauguration on June 11, elected presiding officers for the Ninth National Assembly.
While Senator Ahmad Lawan and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege were elected as president of the Senate and deputy president of the Senate respectively, the House of Representatives chose Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and Hon. Ahmed Wase as speaker and deputy speaker.
THISDAY learnt at the weekend that all the six geo-political zones of the country would be accommodated in the sharing of the principal offices of the two chambers.
Already, with the election of Lawan and Omo-Agege as Senate presiding officers, North-east and South-south had already been taken care of, leaving the remaining four zones: South-west, South-east, North-west and North-central to fill the remaining four principal officers namely Senate leader, deputy Senate leader, chief whip and deputy chief whip.
It was further gathered that the APC leadership would first zone the remaining principal offices before meeting with its 63 senators later this week.
A senator told THISDAY that many ranking senators had begun moves to woo their colleagues ahead of the caucus meeting despite the fact that the APC had not come up with the zoning arrangement for the four principal offices.
Findings, however, revealed that the Senate leader may come from the North-central, deputy leader from the South-west, chief whip from the North-west while the South-east may get the deputy chief whip.
Those seeking to be Senate leader include former Governor of Nasarawa State and chairman of the Eighth Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and former Governor of Kano State, Senator Kabiru Gaya.
Also, Senators Ajayi Boroffice, Remi Tinubu and Teslim Folarin are being touted for deputy Senate leader, while a former Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Adamu Aliero, and former Governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, have been penciled in as chief whip and deputy whip respectively.