The decision of the president-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, to hands off the leadership question in the National Assembly has led to an upbeat in the campaigns for Senate presidency and the Speakership of the House of Representatives in the eighth National Assembly.

Buhari had, on Wednesday, announced his decision not to get involved in the leadership tussle in the legislature, adding that he would work with whoever emerges and from whichever zone.

Investigations by the Nigerian Tribune, on Thursday, indicated that the statement immediately threw the campaigners for the post of Senate presidency and speaker of the House of Representatives into a frenzy, with renewed urgency being put into the campaigns.

One of the leading candidates in the Senate was said to have gathered his supporters together at an emergency meeting on Wednesday night, in order to review the situation.

Investigations revealed the the statement was highly welcomed in the camps of Senators Bukola Saraki, Ahmed Lawan and George Akume, the trio who had been reaching out to incoming senators ahead of the inauguration.

It was also gathered that the camps of Honourable Abdumumin Jibrin, Femi Gbajabiamila and Yakubu Dogara also welcomed the development.

The campaigners were of the view that they would be able to muster the required number to clinch the posts on the floor.

A source close to Saraki said with no less the 65 senators on his side, the Saraki camp welcomed the statement credited to the president-elect.

Senator Lawan was also said to have expressed optimism at the development, insisting that he was sure of victory.
Jibrin, seeking to contest the post of Speaker from the North West, in a statement on Thursday, said the decision by Buhari had portrayed him as a statesman.

“With the powerful and patriotic statement from the president-elect yesterday, the coast has been cleared for competence to determine who becomes speaker of the eighth Assembly.

“The president-elect has sent a clear signal that it will surely not be business as usual,” he said.
Sources close to the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Thursday, said some intrigues and horse trading had actually gone into the statement by the president-elect, in which he proclaimed his neutrality in the contest for National Assembly positions.

Sources said while the General had actually not told anyone of his preference, some sources close to him had decided on a number of candidates and were passing the same off as Buhari’s decision.

It was gathered that some leaders of the party got wind of the plan by those who regarded themselves as Buhari’s close associate to start sending text messages to lawmakers, with the claim that the General was behind the messages.

It was gathered that the messages were to contain specific instructions on the candidates to back for the post of Senate president and Speaker of the House of Representatives.


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