10th NASS: Senators-Elect Reject APC Zoning

-Insist On Producing Own Leaders

By Abdulateef Bamgbose

A group of Senators-elect across different political parties have kicked against zoning arrangement and insisted on producing their own leaders in the red chamber.

The leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had on Monday zoned the Senate leadership position to South-South and North West, but some Senators-elect, at the 10th National Assembly Induction programme organized by the National Assembly, kicked against this development.

Speaking with newsmen at the event, the prefer candidate for the post of Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio said “we are awaiting the final position of the APC National working committee which I believe would come out very soon. When the zoning arrangements come out, we would know the position that would be zoned to different geopolitical zone.

“It is not something that we should speculate about but I believe that justice would be done at the end of the day in terms of balancing the political equation of the country to ensure peaceful tenure for the incoming president.”

Akpabio also said that he was not worried about the move by some aggrieved APC aspirants forming alliances with opposition political parties, adding it remains a normal legislative practice.

He said: “I am not worried at all. It is a normal thing. I always described politics as a game of concentric circle of conspiracy. I am not worried about anything. I believe strongly that the will of God will be done.

“My colleagues would decide my fate on the floor during the inauguration. The senators-elect would take a decision.

“The lawmakers would elect the next Senate President. I believe that there should be cooperation between the the parties and the lawmakers. Once the leadership is put in place, there should be collaboration between the leadership and the Parliament to ensure a smooth administration and we are all mutually dependent on one another while at the same time, exercising our legislative duties and independence. On the whole I believe that we can only get better as our democracy matures.”

Opposing the zoning arrangements by APC, Senator Osita izunaso said, “the most natural thing for the APC to do is to zone the office of the Senate President to the South East. It is long overdue. If you are ever contemplating zoning to the South, it is a natural thing that it should go to the South-East. The zone has been part of the process. South East voted for the APC. If you tell me that the South East did not vote for the APC, I will tell you that you are not saying the truth.

“Despite the pressure on the South East regarding the Peter Obi’s candidature, we were able to deliver six Senate seats and two governors. Labour Party has six senators while the Peoples Democratic Party has two. APC Members In the South East have done exceedingly well. South East Senators-Elect met yesterday and we are categorical that the office of the Senate President should be zoned to the South East in the spirit of justice, equity and balance.

“If we must achieve oneness and unity of Nigeria, the Senate President must be zoned to the South East. That is our stand point and personally, i am not ready to step down for anybody. I’m running for the position of the Senate President.”

Also speaking on the issue of Senate Presidency, the Senator elect on the platform of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) from Kano South Senatorial District, Abdulraham Kawu Samaila said, “we should follow the constitution. There is a clear and express provision in the constitution which allows members of the National Assembly to choose their presiding officers amongst themselves irrespective of party affiliation, religious or ethnic considerations.

“Each of us has the qualification to lead the chambers as presiding officers in the National Assembly.

“It is not a just cause that the Senate Presidency should go to the South because of religion. It is against the constitution and morally it is wrong. It is against the character of democracy. We are practicing constitutional democracy and presidential system of government which provides for the National Assembly, Executive and Judiciary. The parliament is an independent arm of government. The executive is detached from the parliament and judiciary.

“Therefore, we are canvassing a situation where we will have true separation of power. Let the executive led by Mr President, exercise its power to balance its positions. Let us as the legislature, also exercise our powers. The executive can suggest but it is our to do what the constitution provides. The head of the judiciary for instance, is from Oyo, the same geopolitical zone with the President Elect.”

The Senator Elect, representing Delta North Senatorial District on the platform of the PDP, Ned Nwoko said, “the defining issue for us is to have an independent National Assembly. We must be independent of the executive. As a third arm of government, we must hit the ground running. We should not have leaders that are imposed on us by the executive.

“In this case, the issue of South East must be taken to account. The overwhelming majority of the senators elect are of the opinion that we must be independent. That is the only way we can take the executive to account. The parliament is not meant to be pocketed by the executive. There are some of us that are already well established before we came here. So we are not push over. We are very independent minded.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *