Crisis Rock APC as Northern Senators Insist They Want Senate Presidency


The All Progressives Congress has spoken out against northern senators seeking the Senate presidency.


It insisted that any northerner seeking senate leadership had no regard for the party’s constitution.


On Monday, the ’s National Vice Chairman (North-West), Malam Salihu Lukman, and the party’s Director of Publicity, Bala Ibrahim, said that northern senators running for the position should resign for the sake of fairness.



In light of the party’s Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket, party chieftains in the South-South and South-East had called for the zoning of the Senate presidency to their regions in the spirit of fairness and to give other geopolitical regions a sense of belonging.


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So far, eight senators have expressed an interest in the race. Senators Jibrin Barau (Kano Central), Sani Musa (Niger East), Orji Kalu (Abia North), and GodsWill Akpabio are among them. (Akwa-Ibom North-West ).



Senators Osita Izunaso (Imo West), Peter Ndubuze (Imo North), Abdul’Aziz Yari (Zamfara West), and Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North) are among those who have expressed interest.


However, Lukman urged Yari, Barau, and other northern senators to withdraw from the race for Senate President in the 10th National Assembly.



Lukman stated that the ruling party should zone the prestigious office to the South-South or South-East for national unity.


The APC chieftain issued the appeal in a statement titled ‘Cash-and-Carry contest for leadership of the 10th National Assembly.’

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“It is therefore very compelling that the Senate President come from the South-South or South-East,” he said. I’d like to point out that two respected Senators-elect from the Northwest have made public statements about their desire to be Senate President. His Excellency Abdulaziz Yari and Senator Barau Jibrin are the two.


“Now that power has shifted to the South, we have the responsibility as a region to regulate the conduct of all our Senators-elect from the North-West, including the two Senators-elect Abdulaziz Yari and Barau Jibrin to withdraw their candidature for Senate President.”



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“All North-West party leaders must prevail on these leaders to withdraw their candidature for Senate President of the 10th Senate in the overall interest of national unity and peaceful coexistence.” At most, they should aim for the position of Senate Majority Leader in accordance with the Senate’s 1999 zoning formula.”



Lukman, a member of the APC National Working Committee, stated that no candidate from the North-West or North-East should be considered for the position.


While describing the lawmakers’ and NWC members’ lobbying as concerning, he warned against imposing another Muslim leader as Senate president in the aftermath of the outrage that greeted the emergence of the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and his deputy-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, who share the same faith.


“Aside from the clear disregard for national unity and outright disrespect for Nigerians, particularly the persons of Tinubu and Shettima, the President-elect and Vice-President-elect, respectively, some of the aspiring candidates for the positions of Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives are neither concerned about the security and well-being of Nigeria, nor are they in any way disturbed by factors that could erode the electoral process,” he noted.



Candidates who are interested


“These are aspiring candidates for these positions, two of them Muslims from the North-West vying for Senate President and one from the North-East vying for Speaker of the House of Representatives, who are desperately mobilising support.”


“Certainly, these aspirants understand that once the party is allowed to finalise the processes of zoning positions of leadership, there is a very high probability that these positions will be zoned to other parts of the country outside theirs.”



“‘It should be very clear that any Muslim aspirant to the position of Senate President, the third highest ranking position in the Federal , will not mean well for Nigeria and will work to undermine the electoral viability of the APC as a political party.”


“Any Muslim seeking the position of Senate President has no regard for both the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s and the APC’s constitutions.”This is because, according to Chapter II, Section 14(3) of the Nigerian constitution, “the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies, and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, as well as to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other groups.”


”With two Muslims already elected to be sworn in as President and Vice President of the Federal Republic on May 29, any attempt to consider another Muslim as Senate President will promote Muslim dominance in the Federal Government and will be detrimental to Nigeria’s national unity and peaceful coexistence as a sovereign entity, which must not be allowed.”


Bala Ibrahim, the APC’s Director of Publicity, called Lukman’s call for North-West candidates to withdraw from the race “ethical.”


“Fairness requires that these candidates step down. It will try to appear inclusive and to give everyone a sense of belonging. “However, the ultimate decision rests with the party that will not do anything detrimental to its own interests,” he stated.


When asked if the APC had taken a stance on the zoning of the Senate President and Speaker, the APC image maker stated that no formal stance had been taken.


“We haven’t gotten to that yet (zoning), but it has been discussed,” he said. People, I believe, want the atmosphere to be calm after the stress and tensions of the elections. However, consultations are ongoing; they do not have to be formal, with everyone meeting and making decisions.


“The Saraki-Dogara lesson has been learned, and I do not believe the 10th Assembly will proceed in this manner.” The party will not waver. I believe they are waiting to see the results of the supplementary elections. That will give things a push in the right direction. My intuition tells me that the 1999 arrangement will most likely hold.”


Ibrahim stated unequivocally that the president-elect would have a say in who becomes NASS leaders.


“To say that is an understatement.” Only the president (Buhari) claims to belong to no one. But this one (Tinubu) is everyone’s. He will almost certainly have a say because the executive function is dependent on the relationship with the legislature.


“You will almost certainly not get your policies implemented if you have a hostile legislature,” he said.


However, some northern aspirants told The newsmen on Monday that they were running because the Senate needed a competent Senate president.


Senator of Borno South stated that he would support fairness rather than zoning.


“The issue should be about fairness, equity, and justice,” he said. Zoning is a term for zoning, but the Constitution preaches fairness, equity, and justice, and it is the right thing to do.



“The constitution is clear that there must be fairness and inclusiveness in the distribution of resources to ensure an even distribution so that no position or resources are concentrated in one zone, tribe, religion, and so on.”


“I want you to know that I am not vying for this position out of desperation or because I am the best, but because I want the best for the institution,” he said.


“When defining the best, you must consider the person’s competence, experience, position, and pedigree.”


“I’ve already thrown my hat in the ring, but whatever the party and my colleagues think should be taken into account.” I will not be voting for myself.


“That is why I put my agenda out there for my colleagues to judge and vote on; that is why I am not comfortable with processes based on minutiae.”


“If they come up with the arrangement, if it’s fair, why not, but if it’s not, that’ll be another thing.”


Speaking of his chances, Senator Ndume stated that they were separate individuals who should be treated on merit because “one’s tribe isn’t what one has a choice over.” Senator Kashim Shettima is from his state.


“The argument is untenable because both the current Vice President and the Speaker are from the South-West.” If that is possible, what prevents the Vice President and Senate President from coming from the same zone?


Jonathan’s presidency


“In addition, during the tenure of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Senate President, David Mark; the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; and the Speaker, Patricia Etteh were all Christians, and nobody objected.”


Furthermore, Barau argued that the party stood to gain a lot if it zoned it to the North-West based on their performance in the previous election.


“The North-West zone deserves the Senate Presidency, and it would be in the party’s interest to zone the Senate Presidency to them,” he said.


Barau observed that in the recently concluded election, the North-West, specifically Kano, provided the President-elect with a significant advantage over other states.


As a result, the lawmaker stated that if any zone has a stronger claim to the Senate Presidency, it is the North-West.


Reiterating his point, the Kano Central Senator stated that the legislature differed from other branches of government in that it relied more on experience and longevity in the legislature, which he had accumulated over the years.


“I am the highest-ranking senator among those running for the Senate Presidency,” he said. So it’s constitutional, and I have the most experience among those who have declared their intention to run for Senate President.


“The problem is one of competence. Before you become Senate President, you must be grounded in the residue of the legislature. Merits should not be sacrificed for sentiment.”


As a party loyalist, he said he would support whatever decision the APC makes.


Senator Sani


In the same vein, Senator Sani Musa of Niger East made a case for the North-Central, claiming that it was only fair to include the region in the leadership of the 10th Assembly.


He claimed that as a ranking senator, he was uniquely qualified for the position of Senate President.


“I am eminently qualified,” he said, “and the North Central deserves the zoning of the seats.”


“I am a ranking senator with diverse leadership experience both inside and outside of the National Assembly.” I am qualified on all counts.


“If the South-West and North-East were able to produce both the president and vice president, the North-Central should be given the opportunity to produce the Senate president.”


He also stated that if the party refused to zone the position to the North-Central, he would run for deputy senate president.


“I have always made it clear that I support the party’s decision,” he said. If the party’s zoning does not favour the North-Central, which is where I come from, I will run for the position of Deputy Senate President.”


Senator Osita Izunaso (APC-Imo) argued for the South-East, claiming that he was the best qualified for the Senate presidency based on “situations on the ground.”


On Monday in Abuja, he stated that the South-East should be allowed to produce the Senate President in the spirit of justice, fairness, and equity.


He claimed to have the experience and capacity necessary to ensure stability and a cordial working relationship between the executive and legislature, having served as a lawmaker since 2003.


In other news, the Progressive Youth Group has urged the APC to zone the Senate Presidency to the South-East.


To that end, the pressure group backed Senate Chief Whip Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (APC-Abia).


This was stated in a statement issued by the group’s Convener, Mr Idris Jibril, on Monday in Abuja.


“Having carefully considered several factors and the greater good for all,” he said, “the Progressive Youth Group hereby endorses Kalu as the next Senate President of the Tenth Assembly.”


Meanwhile, a reliable source within the APC Secretariat informed our correspondent that the National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, had left the country for ‘Umrah’ in Saudi Arabia.


The APC publicity director confirmed the news, saying that the national chairman went on a routine pilgrimage and would return this week.


“The chairman is also on a pilgrimage outside the country.” In fact, everyone who is anybody, including the president-elect, has left the country,” he joked.

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