Ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Thursday met with senators and members-elect.
He, however, called on members to choose good leaders amongst themselves.
Following the meeting, parliamentarians revealed that Mr. President had actually invited everyone, including candidates, in order to promote national unity.
The lawmakers who spoke after the meeting disclosed that the real reason Mr President invited all of them, including aspirants is to work for the unity of the country.
They stressed that the President “did not voice his support for a particular candidate or asked any lawmaker to step down for the other.”
The Lawmakers noted that Tinubu spoke with a joint session of the National Assembly, comprising senators and members of the House of Representatives across all parties, at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja.
There had been some misleading report in some of the media that Mr President on Wednesday night, “made a strong appeal to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators-elect and Members-elect to abide by the zoning arrangement as announced by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party in electing presiding officers of the Senate and House of Representatives.”
But speaking against the reports, the lawmakers said, the President on Thursday, restated what he disclosed with aspirants in a closed-door meeting that lawmakers should put the nation first and downplay party politics in the discharge of their duties.
The meeting is one of several engagements between the President and lawmakers even as the 10th National Assembly gets inaugurated on June 13.
One of the members representing Ningi/Warji Federal Constituency in Bauchi State, Adamu Ranga, said the President did not voice support for any of the candidates vying for the Senate or House leadership, adding that he called for a united front.
According to him, “The lawmakers were told to work together to choose good leaders in the 10th National Assembly.
“Mr President spoke to the general assembly both the Senate and the House of Representatives in order to ensure that we have a solid government. Second, he emphasized that he will perform an open-door policy for everybody.
“Whoever wants to see him can see him without any hindrance. And whatever you want to discuss with him, he will give you that privilege to discuss.
“Thirdly, he said we should put our constituency first since we are here to represent them. He mentioned that he wants the Senate and the House to cooperate to elect good leaders.”
On his part, member-elect for Enugu East/Isiuzo Federal Constituency, Prof Paul Nnamchi, told reporters that Tinubu appealed to lawmakers to uphold national interest.
“He appealed that we should forget about party politics and face national interest. That was the major part of his speech.
“He didn’t mention anybody’s name to be voted for. Maybe he is appealing, but I didn’t hear anybody’s name,” Nnamchi said
Sources who attended the meeting, however, observed that Mr President’s body language at the meeting did not go well with party chieftains and promoters of those pushing for the imposition of some of the preferred candidates on both Chambers.
Some of the lawmakers expressed excitement over the disposition of the President to the election of the Presiding Officers.
They maintained that the President’s posture was assuring and will provide a cordial working relationship between the Executive and Legislative arms of Government.