The national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged its National Assembly (NASS) members-elect to play down on issues of zoning and leadership of the 10th Assembly.
Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker, House of Representatives, and Ali Ndume (APC Borno-South), spoke with State House correspondents on Monday after the meeting of the APC leadership with lawmakers-elect at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
The meeting was chaired by the Vice-President-elect, Kashim Shettima.
The duo said that the partyâ€™s leadership urged the lawmakers-elect to focus on the forthcoming governorship election.
Mr Gbajabiamila said the meeting was to bring the National Assembly members-elect together to celebrate the partyâ€™s victory.
He said the meeting was to assure members that despite all the odds against the party, it was able to overcome.
â€œOn the issue of zoning, yes, we did talk about it; it is neither here nor there yet; we have another election coming up this weekend and we want to make sure that everybody goes back home, roll up your sleeves.
â€œIt is not hurray yet; we are not there yet; we need to complete the victory and our joy before we talk about the National Assembly; and thatâ€™s basically what it was about,â€™â€™ he said.
He said the absence of the president-elect at the meeting did not affect the outcome.
According to him, the question of zoning should be put on hold until the election is over.
He explained why he was not available to pick up his Certificate of Return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on 7 March
â€œAll I heard was that I didnâ€™t come here last week to pick up my certificate and because of that somebody conjectured that it must be because I didnâ€™t care about it or something about the chief of staff.
â€œIt will interest you that I was in Lagos; I couldnâ€™t leave Lagos because I was campaigning for my party.
â€œIt will also further interest you that I was not here four years ago to pick up my certificate because I couldnâ€™t make it; I didnâ€™t think it was anything significant.
â€œI will pick up my certificate today or tomorrow,â€™â€™ he said.
On his part, Mr Ndume said that the meeting was to evaluate the partyâ€™s performance and go back home and complete the victory.
He said that Nigerians had spoken and elected APC, adding that there would be usual ups and downs in every electoral process.
â€œAnd the party, as expected also, appealed to the members of the National Assembly-elect to play down on the leadership issues and concentrate so that we take the election battle to the end; and that is to ensure that we win our states; and that is exactly what we are doing.
â€œThe party has already strengthened us and we agreed that interactions like this should be frequent so that we will be going in the same direction instead of having issues by the experience of 2015 and 2019 to some extent.
â€œThe issue of zoning did not come up; the president-elect is a parliamentarian; he has more experience than most of us and coincidentally, the Nigerian government is going to be the National Assembly government.
â€œThe president-elect was a senator; the vice president-elect was a senator; the party chairman was a senator; the secretary of the party was a senator; I believe that this time around we are going to have a rancour-free relationship,â€™â€™ he said.
He said that the National Assembly should produce its leadership-based merit while also considering justice, fairness and equity.