A pressure group in the All Progressives Congress under the aegis of Renewed Hope Professionals on Sunday urged the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to maintain neutrality during the election for leadership positions in the 10th National Assembly so as to avoid the mistakes of 2015.
RHP, which was reacting to allegations of moves to anoint aspirants for key positions in the Senate and House of Representatives, warned Tinubu against exhibiting partisanship in the matter, saying it would be counterproductive.
RHP National Coordinator, Kinu Kabirwa, who issued the warning in a statement in Abuja, said Tinubu’s neutrality had become imperative because the very cornerstone of a healthy democracy is the freedom of choice, while “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.”
He warned that if the President-elect takes sides in the leadership of the National Assembly, “it could compromise the ability of lawmakers to carry out their duties and undermine the system of checks and balances, robbing the incoming administration of legitimacy and the healing that the nation so badly needs.”
He added that as an advocate of competitive democracy, the President-elect must demonstrate an unwavering commitment to a level-playing field for all contestants.
Kabirwa said, “The Parliament operates under the dictum of first among equals and any attempt to foist any form of leadership on members may be counterproductive.
“The APC, under the leadership of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari, set a powerful example in the primaries that produced the President-elect as the flagbearer of the APC. The world saw the beauty of progressive politics when Mr President insisted on a level-playing field for all contestants, and we must not backtrack on this laudable legacy.
“The President-elect must be seen as a committed democrat who respects the doctrine of separation of powers, the very hallmark of the presidential system of government and a fundamental aspect of most democratic systems.
“The President-elect must avoid interfering with the workings of the National Assembly to maintain this balance.
“To ensure that the National Assembly operates independently and free from external influence, the President must remain neutral.
“The constitution provides for a system of checks and balances, allowing each branch of government to monitor and regulate the others to prevent any one branch from becoming too powerful.
“Conclusively, the President-Elect must maintain neutrality to ensure the smooth functioning of the new administration, maintain the separation of powers, and uphold the principles of democracy.
“This is vital for the incoming President to establish legitimacy and avoid tension and division that could hinder the government’s ability to pass legislation and address important issues. The President-elect should heed this call for neutrality in the leadership race for the 10th National Assembly.”