FOLLOWING his disapproval of the principal officers of the National Assembly announced by Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, on Tuesday, there are strong indications that the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, is facing a battle to remain the party’s chairman.
Multiple sources told Vanguard that Adamu’s disowning of the principal officers named by Akpabio and Abbas is among the factors that may lead to his ouster as chairman.
Vanguard also gathered that Adamu’s position on the principal officers was considered a defiance of President Bola Tinubu’s wishes, as the National Assembly leadership reportedly got the support of the presidency before making announcing the officers.
Senate President, Akpabio announced Senators Opeyemi Bamidele, Dave Umahi, Ali Ndume and Lola Ashiru as Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate respectively.
Similarly, Abbas named Julius Ihonvbere and Kingsley Chinda as the majority leader and minority leader respectively in the House of Representatives. They both represent the APC, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Peeved at the development, the Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee, NWC, of the APC immediately disowned the announcement, saying the party had not officially communicated with both presiding officers of the national legislature.
While addressing APC governors on Tuesday, Adamu said it is the party’s responsibility to communicate such decisions to the assembly leadership, saying the NWC under him was not about to break away from tradition.
He said: “The essence of today’s invitation is simply to rub minds with you as a matter of courtesy. You will get an update on the National Assembly, sharing of powers, particularly the leadership of the chambers.
“The election of the Senate President and Deputy Senate President; the election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives have been determined and they have now assumed their responsibilities.
“The remaining offices at the two chambers are yet to be done. I had a courtesy call on Saturday from the President of the Senate and his deputy. The following day which was Sunday, I received a visit from the Speaker and his deputy coming to me for Sallah’s homage.
“But I am just hearing rumours now from the online media that there have been some announcements in the Senate and House of Representatives. The national headquarters of the party or the NWC has not given any such information or communicated about the choice of the remaining offices and until we formally resolve and communicate to them in writing which is the normal practice as had been done before we came here, it is not our intention to break away from tradition.
“So, whatever announcement is done either by the President of the Senate, Deputy Senate President, Speaker or Deputy Speaker, is not from this secretariat.”
APC govs Wade in Vanguard learned that the governors, who spoke at the meeting, cautioned Adamu to be more diplomatic in his approach to issues.
“While he was speaking, we noticed the chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum and Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, was trying to signal him to stop and leave the matter for the closed-door session but Adamu still went ahead to say his mind”, said a source at the Tuesday meeting.
“When it was Governor Uzodinma’s turn to speak, he sounded conciliatory and appealed to Adamu to try and ensure that there was no crisis,” the source added.
Also, it was gathered that Governor Umar Bago of Niger State did not mince words in faulting Adamu’s position.
A party source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Bago was very direct. He told Adamu that it was wrong of him to have spoken the way he spoke and that the principal officers of the National Assembly emerged after wide consultations with relevant stakeholders.
“Also, Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni observed that it was as if stakeholders of the party were all working at cross-purposes. He expressed concerns that even the NWC appeared constantly divided. He, therefore, pleaded with Adamu to seal all cracks and ensure that everyone is on the same page.”
Presidency to move against Adamu
Following Adamu’s disapproval of the principal officers, sources hinted to Vanguard that the APC chairman may have bitten more than he can chew.
It was gathered that the President is currently shopping for Adamu’s replacement and will make his position known when the party holds its National Executive Committee, NEC, on July 11.
3 NWC members ditch Adamu
Meanwhile, three members of the APC NWC, yesterday, distanced themselves from utterances made by the APC national chairman disclaiming the appointment of principal officers for the National Assembly.
The three NWC members, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, pointed out that during the meeting, many governors who spoke on the issue cautioned the chairman and urged him to reach out to the leadership of the National Assembly and resolve the matter amicably.
One of the NWC members said: “It was unanimously believed at the meeting that the emergence of leaders of the two chambers of the National Assembly is with the blessing of the President.”
The NWC members said they were worried that it appeared that the national chairman had made up his mind not to work harmoniously with President Bola Tinubu.
They, therefore, distanced themselves and the NWC from actions which they said clearly undermined the smooth take-off of the APC-led Federal Government.
Adamu may be removed from office soon
Another source, who disclosed that the party chairman might be shown the way out, said: “Everything happening is just shrouded in secrecy. In fact, those in the inner caucus are not aware of what is happening.
‘’He is also shutting the party out of the whole thing. Look at the National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, complaining about Opeyemi Bamidele and other principal officers of the National Assembly.
“Barring any last-minute change, I think Adamu may be removed from office soon because if you look at it, Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State indirectly countered him.
“Maybe he knows he will be shown the way out and that is why he is coming out. If you look at it, most of the principal officers are Tinubu’s men.
“Someone told me that Adamu will be removed very soon as APC chairman because he should not have said what he said. He should just have made a phone call to get clarification. Perhaps, he had some candidates he was pushing forward.”
The source, however, went down memory lane to explain how the president, when he was governor, silenced those opposed to him.
He said: “It is like there is a crisis in the party and if you look at it well, Tinubu does not like anyone confronting him. When he was in Lagos as governor, he did not like any dissenting opinion.
‘’If you remember, he removed Senator Bucknor Akerele as his deputy and Femi Pedro, who replaced her, was also removed a few months before the end of his tenure. Also, remember that Prince Ogunleye was deputy governor of Lagos for some weeks.
“From what he (Adamu) said, he will be removed. Also, don’t forget that Adamu never wanted Tinubu to be the presidential candidate of the APC in the first place.
“When he will be removed, I don’t know but he will be shown the way out. Adams Oshiomhole, who was a strong APC chairman, was removed.
“From what I know, Tinubu will spring some surprises but he does not want to tell anyone about it. He is keeping the ministerial list and appointment of board members to his chest.
“Politicians are just going to Abuja wanting to see him but nobody knows his mind. Some of his special advisers are also deliberately making themselves scarce to people. So, the president is just keeping everybody guessing.”
Adamu, Omisere meet Tinubu in Aso Rock
Meanwhile, President Tinubu, yesterday, met with the APC chairman and the party’s Secretary, Dr Iyiola Omisore, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The two party leaders, who arrived at the State House about 5 pm, yesterday, were ushered into the President’s office shortly afterwards.