18 N’central lawmakers-elect reject Akpabio

Godswill Akpabio

Senators-elect from the six states and the FCT, drawn from different political parties, have rejected the zoning arrangements for the 10th National Assembly leadership positions announced by the APC.

The party had in the zoning plans endorsed Akpabio from the South South zone as president of the 10th Senate and Jibrin from the North West as his deputy.

Similarly in the House of Representatives, the APC endorsed Tajudeen Abass from the North West as the Speaker and Benjamin Kalu from the South East as deputy.

The development compelled the North Central senators-elect to write an open letter to the national chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu. They rejected the zoning arrangements because it excluded their region.

Specifically, the elected federal lawmakers said only the North Central geopolitical zone did not produce any presiding officer despite the fact that they got neither the President-elect nor the Vice President-elect. The letter by the lawmakers-elect was entitled, “Resolution of the North Central Caucus of the 10th Senate on NASS Leadership Zoning.”

Part of the letter read: “We the North Central Senators-elect Caucus met on Monday the 8th May 2023 and resolved as follows:

“That the North Central as a geopolitical zone in Nigeria has paid its dues in the political stability of the country and shall continue to do so, but where we see open denial of our rights and privileges, we will have no option than to voice out in the interest of the zone and it’s people we represent.

“It is pertinent to know that we are fully committed to supporting the incoming administration of the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for a better Nigeria.

“This can only happen if fairness, equity and justice are ensured. It is on record that the North Central gave the APC 41 per cent of her votes to victory, hence we equally deserves as others.

“Our caucus reviewed the proposed zoning structure released, and we are not pleased and comfortable with the allocation of the Positions of the Deputy Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the 10th National Assembly to a particular geopolitical zone of the country (North-West), we hereby reject it. The convention has always been that the six geopolitical zones of the country will have one each of the six positions.

“Now that the South West and North East have produced the President-elect and Vice President-Elect respectively, it is only fair and natural that the positions of the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives should be shared amongst the other four geopolitical zones, that is the North Central, South South, South East and North West.”

In the meantime, Senator-elect from Kano South Senatorial District on the platform of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Suleiman Ismaila Kawu, has warned Tinubu to avoid sycophants from deceiving him to take a wrong decision on the National Assembly leadership issue.

Kawu who addressed journalists in Abuja said the only way the 10th National Assembly lawmakers could face the challenges facing the country was to have the Constitution as their guidance.

He said majority of the lawmakers elect were already discussing to work against the zoning arrangements announced by the APC.

“We are in touch with 109 senators and I will assure you that we have a serious number to stop imposition in the Senate or in the House of Representatives. Yesterday the House showed Nigerians a lesson.

“We are consultation and politics is a game of number, it’s a game of persuasion, interface and we are doing it. We will cross the bridge when we get there.

“What we are saying is that we have many challenges in Nigeria and we have a document which all of us have agreed, the constitution, why can’t we use the constitution to resolve the logjam?

“The President-Elect should allow us to sit down and do the needful. Allow us to do those things that will promote unity, happiness and prosperity of Nigeria.

“I am advising the President-elect, that as a democrat, we learnt a lot from him. He was in forefront in fighting Obasanjo for this democracy.

“We were with him when we stopped Jonathan from installing leadership in the House of Representatives. So, Baba, don’t allow sycophants, don’t allow the so-called new cabal in Nigeria to dictate to you; we will not allow it and we will resist it.

“Some of your sons are still in the National Assembly and we know that you are very consistent in terms of democracy and you are very consistent with the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We learnt a lot from you but we will not allow this one to happen when we are in the National Assembly. It is a game of number, and we are doing our best to teach them another lesson.

“The essence of Constitutional democracy is to give power to the people. What we are witnessing today is against the tenets of democracy.

“It is against what we stood for over two decades. It is an insult for the APC to dictate to me where I will go in choosing the presiding officers.

“We are Representatives of the people; it is a constitutional representation. We came with our own agenda, the agenda of our people. There are so many issues on the ground now. Some people are agitating that we must sit down and discuss our Constitution.”

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