Senators-elect across the North-Central geopolitical zone from different political parties have rejected the zoning arrangements for the 10th National Assembly leadership positions, notably the Senate presidency, announced by the All Progressives Congress on Monday.
The APC had in the zoning plans endorsed Godswill Akpabio from the South-South geopolitical zone as the President of the 10th Senate, while Barau Jibrin from the North-West was picked as his deputy.
Also in the House of Representatives, the APC endorsed Tajudeen Abass from the North-West as the Speaker and Benjamin Kalu from the South-East as Deputy Speaker.
The development forced the North-Central senators-elect to write an open letter to the National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu and rejected the zoning arrangements because it excluded their region.
Specifically, the elected federal lawmakers said only the North-Central geopolitical zone did not produce any presiding officer although neither the President-elect nor the Vice President-elect.
The letter by the lawmakers-elect was titled, ‘Resolution of the North Central Caucus of the 10th Senate on NASS Leadership Zoning’.
The letter was signed by 18 senators-elect including Mohammed Musa (Niger East); Ashiru Oyelola (Kwara South); Sadiq Umar (Kwara North); Mustapha Saliu (Kwara Central) and Isah Jibrin (Kogi East).
Others are: Abba Moro (Benue South); Godiya Akwashiki (Nassarawa North); Ahmed Wadada (Nassarawa West); Ireti Kingibe (FCT); Sunday Steve (Kogi West); Ohere Abubakar (Kogi Central), and Peter Jiya (Niger South).
They also included Napoleon Bali (Plateau South); Mwadkion Davou (Plateau North); Diket Plang (Plateau Central); Mohammed O. Onawo (Nasarawa South); Emmanuel M. Udende (Benue East) and Titus Zam (Benue West).
Parts of the letter read, “We the North-Central senators-elect caucus met on Monday the 8th May 2023 and resolved as follows:
“That the North-Central as a geopolitical zone in Nigeria has paid its dues in the political stability of the country and shall continue to do so, but where we see an open denial of our rights and privileges, we will have no option than to voice out in the interest of the zone and it’s people we represent.
“It is pertinent to know that we are fully committed to supporting the incoming administration of the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for a better Nigeria.
“This can only happen if fairness, equity and justice are ensured. It is on record that the North Central gave the APC 41 per cent of her votes to victory, hence we equally deserve as others.”
The letter added, “Our caucus reviewed the proposed zoning structure released, and we are not pleased and comfortable with the allocation of the Positions of the Deputy Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the 10th National Assembly to a particular geopolitical zone of the country (North-West), we hereby reject it.
“The convention has always been that the six geopolitical zones of the country will have one each of the six positions.
“Now that the South West and North East have produced the President-elect and Vice President-Elect respectively, it is only fair and natural that the positions of the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker, and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives should be shared amongst the other four geopolitical zones, that is the North Central, South-South, South East and North West.”
The letter further included, “Sequel to the above, we as a caucus is calling on the All Progressives Congress (APC) to immediately retract its earlier decision which schemes us out of the power-sharing formula of the Country and cede the position of the Deputy Senate President to the North Central Zone to ensure fairness, equity, and justice for a smooth 10th Senate.”
Meanwhile, the senator-elect from the Kano South Senatorial District on the platform of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Suleiman Kawu has warned Tinubu to avoid sycophants from deceiving him to take a wrong decision on the National Assembly leadership issue.
Kawu, who addressed journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, said the only way the 10th National Assembly lawmakers could face the challenges facing the country was to have the Constitution as their guide.
He said a majority of the lawmakers-elect were already discussing working against the zoning arrangements announced by the APC.
“We are in touch with 109 senators and I will assure you that we have a serious number to stop imposition in the Senate or the House of Representatives. Yesterday the House showed Nigerians a lesson.
“We are consultation and politics is a game of number, it’s a game of persuasion, interface and we are doing it. We will cross the bridge when we get there.
“What we are saying is that we have many challenges in Nigeria and we have a document on which all of us have agreed, the constitution, why can’t we use the constitution to resolve the logjam?”
He said, “The President-Elect should allow us to sit down and do the needful. Allow us to do those things that will promote unity, happiness, and prosperity in Nigeria.
“I am advising the President-elect, that as a Democrat, we learned a lot from him. He was at the forefront in fighting Obasanjo for this democracy.
“We were with him when we stopped Jonathan from installing leadership in the House of Representatives. So, Baba, don’t allow sycophants, don’t allow the so-called new cabal in Nigeria to dictate to you; we will not allow it and we will resist it.
“Some of your sons are still in the National Assembly and we know that you are very consistent in terms of democracy and you are very consistent with the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We learned a lot from you but we will not allow this one to happen when we are in the National Assembly. It is a game of numbers, and we are doing our best to teach them another lesson.