10th NASS: APC disappoints Betara, Doguwa, Kalu, Musa

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The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) confirmed the previously reported zoning arrangement on Monday, with the party settling on a former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Senator Goodwill Akpabio, as the next Senate President and Senator Jubril Barau as Deputy Senate President.

In addition, the party named Abbas Tajudeen as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives and Benjamin Kalu as the next Deputy Speaker.

Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu, Sen. Osita Izunaso, Senator Musa Sani, Hon. Muktar Aliyu Betara, Hon. Ado Doguwa, and a slew of other Senate and House of Representatives candidates may have lost out as a result of this decision.

The APC reached an agreement on the sharing formula for the six offices each in the two chambers of the National Assembly during a meeting last Friday with the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The North-Central was not considered for any positions in the announced sharing formula, while the North-West received the positions of Speaker and Deputy Senate President.

The development, however, sparked heated debate when a North-Central group on the platform of the APC Stakeholders Forum stormed the party’s national secretariat on Monday to protest the zone’s exclusion from National Assembly leadership.

The APC National Publicity Secretary, Barr. Felix Morka, announced the party’s official position Monday evening, saying the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) met and ratified that the Senate President should go to the South-South, Sen. Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), and the Deputy Senate President to the North-West, Sen. Barau Jubrin (Kano).

The party confirmed in the House of Representatives that the position of Speaker would go to Hon. Abass Tajudeen (North-West, Kaduna) and Deputy Speaker South-east, Hon Ben Kalu (South-East, Abia).

“The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee met today, Monday, May 8, 2023, to consider reports of consultations and meetings held with the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, other party leaders, and stakeholders on zoning arrangements for 10th National Assembly leadership positions,” he said.

“The NWC took note with respect of the outcome of the meetings held between the president-elect and the NWC leadership.”

“The NWC called for additional and improved consultation with necessary stakeholders in order to ensure the support of aspirants to National Assembly leadership positions and Party members nationwide.”

The party urged its leaders, members, and Nigerians to continue working for the country’s peace and progress during and after the current leadership transition.

Prior to the announcement of the zoning agreement, one of the Senate candidates, Sen. Sani Musa (North-Central, Niger-East), told journalists that whatever decision the party makes on zoning will be considered as required inputs into leadership selection, with the ultimate and final decision resting with the federal legislators-elect.

“Political parties will advise on how leaders of parliament should emerge, as is done in most democracies, but votes for that rest with elected lawmakers.”When it comes to the election of interested lawmakers for the Presiding Officer positions, both Chambers of the National Assembly have elected lawmakers on the platforms of various political parties, with each having one vote.

“The party will make its decision on zoning,” he said, “but the elected lawmakers will know how to cross the bridge when they get there.”

*Yari collective

Meanwhile, the Good Governance Initiative (GGi), a group dedicated to the emergence of Senator-elect Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari as the next Senate President, has chastised a group of Non-Serving Senators from the Second to Fourth Republics for calling on Senate presidential aspirants to withdraw from the race for Senator Godswill Akpabio.

The pro-Yari group claimed that the former lawmakers’ call amounts to a double standard because many members of the previously unknown group had championed legislative independence in the past when it suited their interests.
Earlier Monday, 72 former federal lawmakers under the auspices of Non-Serving Senators of the Second to Fourth Republics, led by Senator Basheer Lado, endorsed Akpabio and Barau’s nominations.
However, in a statement issued in Abuja in response to the endorsements, the National President of GGi, Kunle Sanusi, stated that such a call was undemocratic and uncalled for in a constitutional democracy.

“These were people who had previously served as lawmakers at the highest levels of this country.”

“They must understand fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution.” They should understand constitutional democracy, as we do.

“Many of those on the list have previously advocated for parliamentary independence.” So, what has altered?

“The best answer to the question is that they are using a double standard for selfish reasons.”Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari, on the other hand, will exercise his rights in accordance with the Senate Standing Rule and the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“On the one hand, he can’t be intimidated by this kind of gang-up because former Senators have no voting rights on the Senate floor.”Sen. Godswill Akpabio, on the other hand, was one of the PDP senators who voted for a Senate President in 2015 to ensure the legislature’s independence.

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“Now he’s changed; he wants to be handpicked rather than chosen through a democratic process.”

“That tells you what kind of Senate President they want to install in the 10th National Assembly,” Sanusi explained.

*The South-East Caucus kicks off

The South-East Caucus of Senators-elect, dissatisfied, asserted that the ruling party’s decision had marginalized the zone, according to Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah, spokesman for the group, on Politics Today, a Channels Television program in Abuja.

The lawmaker representing Anambra-South in the National Assembly argued that if the South-East produces the next leader of the upper legislative body, it will contribute to the country’s unity.
“For me and our people from the South-East, we are still very strong in our campaign for the office of Senate President of Nigeria for the 10th Senate,” he said. That is our current position.”

He wondered how regime after regime would support the zone’s marginalization, not just through infrastructure provision, but also through the establishment of offices to help people from the area make their people’s wishes known at the highest levels of government.

Ubah noted that he has presented more bills than any other Senator, which are currently fetching billions of Naira into the coffers of the Federal government, and wondered why the morbid fear or hatred against the zone.

He maintained that Sen. Akpabio exacerbated matters by excluding the South-East from his consultations, pointing out that while the APC as a political party has stated its intentions, the Senators and those from the South-East will consult and make a decision.

*Protest by a North-Central group

The North-central group, led by Alhaji Salihu Ibrahim, said it is unfair to exclude the zone from the equation of things when it comes to National Assembly leadership during a protest to the A0C national secretariat.
“We are all here to draw the attention of the APC National Chairman and to congratulate the President-elect, and to tell him that we, the North-Central, have contributed a lot to his success, and we still want to tell him that we are being marginalised in terms of the sharing formulas of offices of the 10th National Assembly,” Ibrahim said.

“It is outrageous that the party has not considered the North-Central. We have been dissatisfied with the APC since its inception; we in the North-Central have made significant contributions to its development, and we continue to do so.

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“It is outrageous that the party has not considered the North-Central. We have been dissatisfied with the APC since its inception; we in the North-Central have made significant contributions to its development, and we continue to do so.

“The North-Central should be taken seriously and adequately compensated.” The APC National level should recognize and appreciate our zone.

“If Abdullahi Adamu can allow this to happen to us under his watch, yes, we respect his leadership, his stability in the party, but stability is not paying the North-Central.”

“If they can’t give us the Senate President, we demand that the 10th Assembly Speakership be zoned to North-Central.”

 

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