Amidst the silence of the All Progressives Congress’ National Working Committee on the zoning arrangement for offices of presiding officers of the National Assembly, a group in the ruling party, Concerned APC Members Forum, has demanded adherence to the Federal Character principle.
Addressing newsmen at the weekend in Abuja, National Convener of the Forum, Comrade Okpokwu Ogenyi, said every geo-political zone should be given a sense of belonging regarding the leadership of the country at all levels.
While he noted that the South-West and North-East have since produced President-elect and Vice – President, respectively, the group urged the APC National Working Committee and the Progressives Governors Forum to consider zoning of President of the Senate and Deputy Senate President to the South-South and North West.
Ogenyi said both zones contributed massive votes to the victory of the ruling party in the last February presidential election and should be adequately rewarded.
The group further maintained that the duo of Senator Godswill Akpabio, ( Akwa-Ibom North West) and Senator Barau Jibrin, ( Kano North), being ranking Senators from both zones, should be considered for the exalted seats.
He said, “We believe that the party’s role in the National Assembly leadership is to ensure the emergence of a competent Senator who has distinguished himself over the years, devoid of religious and tribal sentiment, a pan-Nigerian who has been tested and trusted, proven worthy of integrity, character and prudent management.
“As believers in the Nigerian project, our appeal to the party is to consider the Federal Character principle in the zoning of the 10th Senate leadership, bearing in mind, competence and credibility with an understanding that Nigeria is a secular state with multi-faiths and six geo-political zones.
He added, “We wish to remind you the leadership of our party that, the President-elect is from the South West, and the Vice President-elect is from the North East, as such,
the Senate President should be zoned to the South-South and the Deputy Senate President to the North-West while the Speaker of the House of Representatives and deputy should be accommodated by the other zones in view of competence and credibility of Honourable members.
“The President-elect needs highly competent Senators with vast knowledge of legislative business to complement him in delivering dividends of democracy to Nigerians. To this end, we have gone ahead in shopping for highly competent, ranking Senators who shall work assiduously with the President-elect and members of the National Assembly to ensure stability and prudent financial appropriation and law-making for the overall interest of the country as the President and Deputy President of the 10th Senate.
“Although, we have watched with keen interest, the agitations from the various geo-political zones clamouring to produce the Senate President. We have also studied their request and concluded that APC as a national party should consider federal character considering the six geo-political zones and the circular nature of the country for even distribution of key government positions.
“We are aware that zoning is not done in a vacuum, so we highly recommend H.E Senator Godswill Akpabio for the position of Senate President and Senator Barau I. Jibrin as Deputy Senate President respectively. This will go a long way in building the confidence of APC members across the country in preparation for the future of our great party, the APC.
“It is pertinent to note that, in the South, South-South contributed the second highest votes after South-West which houses the President-elect. The North-West gave the party the highest votes in the North with Kano state consistently giving APC the highest vote per state in every election since the formation of the APC.
“More so, our submission is based on their legislative experience, prudent financial management, fair disposition towards national peace and unity, care for the less privileged, competence, reward for hard work, electoral value, and diplomatic relations.
“In the National Assembly, Senator Akpabio is the most ranking senator from the South-South under the platform of the APC while Senator Barau I. Jibrin is the most ranking senator from the North West.
“We sincerely appeal to the National Chairman of our great Party, H.E. Sen Abdullahi Adamu CON, and his National Working Committee members to zone the Senate Presidency seat to the South-South and the Deputy Senate President to the North West, preferably micro-zoned to Akwa Ibom State and Deputy Senate President to Kano State to pave way for the most ranking Senators, Godswill Akpabio and Barau I. Jibrin to emerge as the Senate President and Deputy Senate President of the 10th Senate respectively.
“We unequivocally call on the President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Progressives Governor’s Forum (PGF) and the State chairmen of our party to implement a government of National competence by supporting the zoning of the Senate Presidency to the South-South and Deputy to the North West.
“To this end, this organisation is publicly making this appeal to our leaders while official letters will be sent to our party’s National Chairman and the President-elect respectively in this regard.
We shall continue to advocate for good governance in promoting the ideology of our great party, APC. ”