LEADERS of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may have foreclosed the chance of any of its members contesting for the post of Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representatives in the incoming ninth National Assembly, sources close to the party have said.
Investigations by the Sunday Tribune confirmed that leaders of the party had been brainstorming about the role of the PDP in the incoming Assembly due for inauguration in June.
It was confirmed that at formal and informal settings in recent weeks, the issue of how to handle the next National Assembly leadership had dominated discussions within the opposition party.
First, it was concluded that the party would not make public its choice of Senate President and Speaker among the contestants on the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) until very close to the inauguration of the new Assembly.
Sources said that party leaders have resolved to keep the APC guessing on this matter and that the final meeting that would arrive at the choice of the candidate for Senate President and Speaker would only be known days to the elections.
A source in the know said that members of the National Working Committee of the PDP and the lawmakers-elect in the Senate and the House have been talking with no final decision reached on the contestants for the nation’s number three and four positions so far.
It was gathered that leaders of the party have also resolved to tell members of the party elected into the ninth Senate and House of Representatives not to drag the presiding officer positions with any of the APC members.
A source said that the party analysed its take on the 2015 to 2019 National Assembly and then resolved to change its strategy.
“It was good enough that we foisted a sort of hybrid Senate on the National Assembly in 2015 and then we also ensured that our loyalists in the person of the Speaker of the House, Honourable Yakubu Dogara got elected in 2015.
“It served as a morale booster that equally helped to galvanise our members in the two chambers. But going forward, it has been adopted that none of our members would drag the presiding officer positions with the APC in June. The idea is to make impact without necessarily dragging positions,” the source said.
Another source stated that the PDP has resolved to allow the APC run its government so that the main opposition party can face the role of opposition between 2019 and 2023.
“During the 2019 electioneering, the APC went about blaming its failure on the hostile National Assembly being led by the opposition. Right now, we are of the view that the idea has served its purpose. From now, we won’t give further room for unfounded excuses by the APC,” the source stated.
It was also gathered that the party has resolved to pick the Senator representing Abia South, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who currently chairs the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy as its Minority Leader in the ninth Senate.
Sources also said that Hon. Dogara has been chosen as the Minority Leader of the 9th House of Representatives.
In picking the duo, it was gathered that the party is gunning for consistency and loyalty, while also appreciating Dogara for his firm grip on members in the House.