It is my experience that this comes in 3 faces:
1) I've heard that items on the top are most likely to get attention. So we should ensure all items are within the top-most view.
2) I represent the team that is behind X. X is incredibly important. It is my world and my team is brilliant. So it should be the highest priority and on top. And hey! There is empty space RIGHT THERE! Why not put something about X there?
3) From all that I know, users always want access to A, C, H, Y, and Z. So all of those things NEED to be easily accessible on every page and at all times, even when the users are on sections which isn't related.
Neither of these are 'exactly' user-interest focused, but they are driven by good intentions (or fear of being left out, forgotten, unseen).
It is important to empathize with the stakeholders, to educate, and to foster a sense of confidence in proper placement. Ensure they know that their feedback is important while also emphasizing the needs of the customer.
Additionally, bring out "Hicks law" and find a way for that to resonate - for it to be INCREDIBLY important.