APC supporters in the North-Central region have protested what they believe to be their region’s exclusion from leadership of the 10th National Assembly, which will take office on June 5.
The decision by the APC national leadership to elect Senators Godswill Akpabio (South-South) and Barau Jibrin (North-West) as Senate President and Deputy Senate President respectively was supported by the stakeholders, including lawmakers, who made this statement on Sunday.
However, North-Central stakeholders unanimously criticised the reported APC leadership decision regarding the Senate presidency and the position of the House of Representatives Speaker during separate press conferences held in Abuja on Sunday.
Tajudeen Abbas (Kaduna) and Benjamin Kalu (Abia) would succeed Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) as the next leaders of the Senate, while Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) and Barau (Kano) would take over as the next leaders of the House.
Dominic Alancha, the convener of the North Central APC Stakeholders, however, stated in an address he gave on Sunday in Abuja under the title “10th National Assembly: We Demand Justice, Equity and Fairness for North Central Zone,” “We are compelled to register our disappointment and to protest the decision of the APC leadership to zone two presiding positions, Deputy Senate President and Speaker in the 10th National Assembly in favour of the North-West to the total exclusion of the North-C.”
“Having won the 2023 presidential elections legitimately, we expect the APC’s leadership to be guided by the principles of justice and fairness in allocating leadership positions in the parliament. We had anticipated that considerations such as dedication to the party’s success, level of contributions, and the requirement for fairness, equity, and justice to all would be taken into account.”
The plan to assign the Speaker of the House of Representatives position to the North-West zone was opposed by the stakeholders because it implied unfairness, favouritism, and the marginalisation of other zones.
Later on Sunday, the Forum of North-Central Former House of Representatives Members in the APC criticised the exclusion of the North-Central in a communiqué released at the conclusion of an emergency meeting.
Stakeholders object to being excluded.
The group claimed that its stance was in the best interests of the incoming Tinubu-led administration and for the greater good of Nigeria in a communiqué titled “Need for Justice and Equity in Allocating Key Offices in the National Assembly.”
Idris Yakubu, a member of the Fourth Assembly who spoke on behalf of others, responded to the question of whether candidates from the North-Central should follow the APC’s zoning plan or fight for the zone’s rights, saying that it was the stakeholders’ duty to warn the party and Tinubu about the “dangers ahead if they decide to continue in their folly of doing what we heard they are thinking of doing.”
However, the APC chairmen in the North-West hailed the selection of Akpabio and Barau as a crystal-clear indication of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the president-elect, and the APC national leadership’s willingness to rescue the nation from its socio-economic woes.
As he prepared to assume office on May 29, the APC chairmen who backed the Akpabio-Barau ticket also characterised the President-Elect as impartial and detribalized.
Alhaji Aminu Sani, Jigawa State Chairman of the APC, said the President-Elect had done a wonderful job of maturity and patriotism that would change the narrative of ethnoreligious politics in the nation while speaking on behalf of his party colleagues in Kano on Sunday.
Only the Zamfara State APC chairman was absent out of the zone’s seven states. They came from the states of Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, and Sokoto.
According to Sani and his colleagues, the Akpabio-Barau ticket would result in effective leadership for the 10th National Assembly who would work tirelessly for the improvement of Nigeria.
“Barau Jibrin, for instance, is a man of integrity who has never been found wanting in all his national life and who is someone who is focused. Therefore, his decision to withdraw his ambition and accept to be Deputy Senate President clearly shows that he is a level-headed person and as such, he deserves praise,” Sani said.
In order for Nigeria to have leaders who understand themselves and are willing to set aside their personal feelings for the sake of national development, the North-West APC chairmen urged the newly elected Senators to support the choice of the President-Elect and the APC national leadership without animosity or disagreement.
Defenders of Constitutional Democracy, a different group, applauded Tinubu and the APC leadership for supporting Abbas for the position of Speaker of the 10th House and argued that the North-West deserved to be rewarded for its steadfast support of the party.
Aliyu Abdullahi, the DCD’s convener, and Chukwuma Okoro, the director of contact and mobilisation, made the commendation in a statement titled “10th NASS Speakership: Group Hails Tinubu, APC’s Choice of Abass Tajudeen…Says North-West Deserves Reward for Loyalty, Hard Work” that was released on Sunday.
According to the DCD, Abbas’ home region of the North-West was the region that gave the APC the most votes during the presidential election, so it was only fitting that the region “be rewarded with the Number Four position in the country.”
However, the North-West Progressives Forum insisted on the election of Abdulaziz Yari, a former governor of Zamfara State and chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, as the new president of the Senate on Sunday.
The forum argued that the APC and Tinubu had not released any official statements regarding the party’s zoning plan, maintaining that the alleged plan was still void.
Nasir Dambatta, the group’s convener, stated that there was no justification for allowing the South-South zone to claim the Senate Presidency when the presidency had been awarded to the South-West while speaking at a press conference in Kaduna on Sunday.
To avoid the errors of 2015, Renewed Hope Professionals, another pressure group within the APC, urged Tinubu on Sunday to remain impartial during the election for leadership positions in the 10th Assembly.
The RHP’s National Coordinator, Kinu Kabirwa, issued the warning in a statement in Abuja that we were able to obtain, saying that the President-elect’s impartiality was required because “the very cornerstone of a healthy democracy is the freedom of choice,” and that “the imposition of candidates by those in positions of authority has led to a legitimacy crisis in the country since the return to democracy in 1999.”
Aliyu Betara (APC/Borno), a front-runner for the position of Speaker of the House, is expected to formally announce his candidature on Monday (today), despite rumours that the APC has a zoning plan.
In spite of reports of zoning against the North-Central region he represents, Plateau State’s Yusuf Gagdi went ahead and declared for Speaker on Friday.
In a related development, it was discovered on Sunday that the APC’s National Working Committee would hold a significant meeting on Monday to wrap up discussions on the leadership positions for the National Assembly.