Tinubu’s meeting with opposition Reps-elect shifted to Thursday

The meeting between President Bola Tinubu and members-elect of the coming House of Representatives in the opposition parties has been shifted to Thursday, The PUNCH has learnt.

Tinubu was to meet with opposition members-elect in the 10th National Assembly on Monday.

The president’s meeting with the minority members-elect in the Senate will, however, hold as scheduled.

The president’s notice of invitation to the lawmakers-elect on Saturday was signed by the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijani Umar, on behalf of the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila.

While the opposition senators-elect would meet with Tinubu by 3 pm, the opposition representatives-elect were to gather at the same venue to discuss with the president by 5 pm.

The invitation, which was dated June 2, 2023, and addressed to the Clerk to the National Assembly, read, “I write to inform you that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will hold a meeting with members of the opposition Senators-elect and opposition House of Representatives members-elect in the State House Conference Centre, Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday, 5th June 2023 at 1500 hours and 1700 hours respectively.

“In this regard, you are kindly requested to inform all concerned members to attend and forward their list early for security clearance. Please, accept the assurances of the President’s highest consideration.”

However, a notice to members-elect, our correspondent sighted on Sunday, read, “This is to inform members-elect that the meeting with the President has been postponed till Thursday. Proper communication will be sent subsequently. Regards.”

The meetings are coming ahead of the inauguration of the 10th Assembly on June 13, 2023, when the chosen candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress would either be adopted or be contested against.

Though the notice did not state the agenda of the meeting, it may be unconnected with the controversy caused by the leadership zoning plan of the APC.

The National Working Committee of the APC had on May 8, 2023, released the zoning formula for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly, picking Godswill Akpabio (Akwa-Ibom/South-South) President of the Senate; Jibrin Barau (Kano/North-West) for Deputy President of the Senate; Tajudeen Abbas (Kaduna/North-West) for Speaker; and Benjamin Kalu (Abia/South-East) for Deputy Speaker.

Several aspirants for leadership positions in the Senate and the House have, however, kicked against the APC leadership zoning plan, vowing to go ahead and contest against the party’s chosen candidates.

The APC candidates and their aggrieved opponents are banking on the votes of the newly-elected members who are far more than the returning members and members-elect in the opposition parties who collectively have more numbers than the ruling party.

Members of the opposition in the Senate and House are drawn from seven political parties: Peoples Democratic Party, Labour Party, All Progressives Grand Alliance, Social Democratic Party, African Democratic Congress, Youth Progressive Party and the New Nigeria Peoples Party.