President Bola Tinubu is set to meet with opposition lawmakers-elect.
He has scheduled meetings with lawmakers-elect of the National Assembly from opposition political parties for Monday over the intensifying leadership tussle.
The meeting is expected to be attended by opposition senators-elect and House of Representatives members-elect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP) and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), among other opposition parties at the State House in Abuja between 3 pm and 5 pm.
Sunday PUNCH reports that Tinubu’s notice of invitation to the lawmakers-elect was signed by the Permanent Secretary of the State House, Tijani Umar, on behalf of the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila.
According to the invitation, the opposition senators-elect will meet with Tinubu by 3 pm while the opposition House of Representatives members-elect will meet with the President at the same venue by 5 pm.
The invitation dated June 2, 2023, and addressed to the Clerk of the National Assembly, stated, “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 enough for security clearance. Please, accept the assurances of the President’s highest consideration.”
However, opposition political parties including the PDP, the LP and the NNPP have cautioned their lawmakers-elect not to fall for the whims and caprices of the executive over the 10th National Assembly leadership tussle.
According to the opposition parties, though there is nothing wrong in attending the meeting called by President Tinubu, its members must ward off undue interference by the executive in matters concerning legislative leadership and affairs.
The NNPP spokesman, Agbo Major, while reacting to the President’s invitation warned that the opposition lawmakers-elect should operate without the interference of the executive, maintaining that the lawmakers must always ensure that the principle of separation of power should be embraced by the three arms of government in every situation in the interest of the country.
However, he said the party would not stand in the way of its members-elect if the President called them to a meeting, adding that the NNPP might not be so nice to President Tinubu if the purpose of the meeting was “connected to the choice of National Assembly leadership, then the party will take a different position as we believe in the independence of the legislative arm of government which ideally should operate without interference from the executive arm in conformity with the principles of separation of power”.
“As party loyalists, our elected members will return to brief the party after which appropriate decisions would be taken in the interest of the suffering masses.”
Also, spokesman for the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, said the party would prioritise national interest over partisanship, adding that a request of such a meeting with its member-elect had yet to reach the party.
Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) choice of the former Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio, for the Senate Presidency of the yet-to-be-inaugurated 10th National Assembly, have raised dust as many members of the party objected to the nomination.
SaharaReporters had reported that the former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, is on a collision course with Akpabio as it was revealed that against the persuasion of Tinubu who is said to be foisting Akpabio’s choice on the Red Chambers, Yari has refused to step down.