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Tinubu: ‘We Are Not Satisfied With SGF, We Want DSP, FCT Minister’




George Akume, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Femi Gbajabiamila

In a move to placate the North-central zone and influence the tussle for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has appointed a former governor of Benue State, George Akume, as the next secretary to the government of the federation (SGF).

Naija News reports that Tinubu’s move is to appease the zone, which was overlooked in the choice of candidates endorsed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to fill the top four presiding officers’ positions in the National Assembly.

Recall that the APC had backed Godswill Akpabio (South-South) and Barau Jibrin (North-West) for Senate President and Deputy Senate President, respectively. The party also backed Tajudeen Abbas (North-West) and Benjamin Kalu (South-East) for Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively.

This did not go down well with many stakeholders from the North-central region who feel the zone was short-changed despite massively backing Tinubu in the last election.

Senator Sani Musa from Niger State is in the race to be deputy Senate President and has the backing of Senators-elect from the region. While the current Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, is in the race for Speaker and has remained steadfast in his determination to run for the number four seat.

Some party faithful who spoke with Leadership in confidence said the appointment of Akume as SGF may have been done to pave the way for Hon Abbas from the North West to become Speaker.

Stakeholders from the North Central yesterday told President Tinubu that the appointment of Akume as the next SGF was not enough to appease them.

The North Central People’s Forum (NCPF) insisted that with the quantum of votes given to Tinubu in the last election, the zone should be given the office of the deputy Senate President and minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The North Central forum noted that while they are grateful for the position of the SGF, someone from the FCT should get a ministerial slot of any portfolio but preferably the FCT minister.

The national publicity secretary of the forum, Hon Audu Sule, said the people of the North Central, including Abuja, Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Niger, Nasarawa and Kwara States, know Abuja very well, adding that one of them should be appointed the FCT minister.

He said, “First of all we thank Mr President for appointing one of our sons, father and brother as the SGF. We want to particularly congratulate Sen George Akume for the appointment because he is eminently qualified.  

“But that is not enough to pacify us. If you look at the vote the APC pulled in North Central it was massive. We were able to lead in all the states except for Plateau and FCT that went to the Labour Party. 

“We want the office of the deputy Senate president to go to the North Central. That is the office we have not occupied. In the past, military governments appointed ministers of FCT from the North Central. That’s what we want from the present administration. 

“Also, if you check in the previous government, the North East had a Senate President and the SGF. So, we want the office of the deputy Senate president. It will be good for the north central to get it because out of the seven states, we give five to the APC. 

“We are also calling for the North Central state to be considered for the office of the FCT minister because the people understand the area very well. Also the FCT should be given a ministerial appointment.”

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