9th NASS: APC senators-elect oppose zoning positions to individuals

9th NASS: APC senators-elect oppose zoning positions to individuals

- Senators-elect on the platform of the APC have moved against plans to micro-zone the leadership of the Senate to individuals

- The incoming lawmakers say the plan would backfire on the ruling party

- They cautioned that the opposition PDP may use the opportunity to work against the APC's interest

Senators-elect on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have moved against plans to micro-zone the leadership of the Senate to individuals, warning that it would backfire on the party.

A ranking senator-elect, who spoke to Leadership on the condition of anonymity, has warned that if the APC zoned the leadership positions to individuals, it would generate crisis for the party.

According to him, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was working to decide who becomes the Senate president, just like in 2015.

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His words: “If they do that, it will generate crisis and it won’t favour the party at the end of the day. Positions should only be zoned to geo-political zones and not individuals.

“Let the senators from that zone, in consultation with our colleagues on the floor, elect who to lead us so that we can have the feeling that we elected our own leaders, and not imposition from outside. Anything short of zonal arrangements will lead to rebellion as was the case in 2015.

“PDP senators, in cahoots with their party, are working to sna*ch it from us. They are just waiting for the time to strike. If care is not taken, the PDP will decide who becomes the Senate president because they are working in cohesion.

“But (this will be avoided) if APC throws it to the zones and allows the zonal caucuses to produce either two or three persons to the floor during election. The same thing should be done in the House.”

Another senator, who also spoke on the matter, declared that zoning positions to individuals would lead to instability.

He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the leadership of the APC embrace the zonal arrangements.

His words: “The earlier it is done, the better for the party. But if it is zoned to individuals and the candidates are not popular, we will rebel and vote for another person, against the wish of the party.

“This will lead to instability and it won’t be good for the polity. It would be seen as appointment and not election. It is we the legislators that will elect our leaders and not our party.

“The party lacks the powers to appoint leaders for us. Zoning is allowed and it has worked well in the past. If we don’t put our house together, the PDP lawmakers will complicate matters for us.

“If you remember during the Obasanjo era, the position was zoned to the south-east and all those that contested were from there. In 2007, it was zoned to the north-central and it was David Mark and George Akume that contested the position, and Mark defeated Akume. But in 2015 when it was left open to all, Bukola Saraki and Ahmed Lawan contested and that was the cause of the confusion,” he said.

Another senator-elect said: “You cannot fence out the opposition. They have a stake and they must be allowed to contribute and play a role in the emergence of the presiding officers. It’s the Senate of the Federal Republic and not APC Senate.

“The party should put forward two or three candidates. Of course, it should not be let open without direction, but also no candidate should be imposed. If they impose a candidate, it won’t work.”

At the moment, Ahmad Lawan (Yobe), Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Ali Ndume (Borno) and Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa) are considered the favourites for the Senate presidency.

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Meanwhile, the deputy national publicity secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, has advised the ruling party's leaders to roll-out zoning arrangements for the leadership positions in the incoming 9th National Assembly.

Nabena urged the APC leaders to carry out the action, alleging that there are plots by opposition party members to hijack the leadership of the incoming assembly.

According to him, the outgoing Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the PDP caucus are scheming to decide the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives.

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