10th NASS Leadership: Forgive Us – Adamu Pleads; Promises To Revisit Zoning List
10th NASS Leadership: Forgive Us – Adamu Pleads; Promises To Revisit Zoning List
The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Adamu, has apologised to the Senators of the party over the zoning of the 10th National Assembly leadership positions.
Adamu, who admitted the party’s mistake while addressing Senators Sani Musa, Orji Uzor Kalu, Abdulaziz Yari and Osita Izunaso who visited him at the Buhari House national headquarters of the party in Abuja on Thursday to lay their complaints against the list, said the party made a mistake to be corrected shortly.
This turnaround was as a result of the fierce protests and threats from Senators and House of Representatives members aspiring for the leadership positions in the National Assembly.
Adamu admitted the party goofed in its hasty decision by not consulting the senators, and he personally accepted responsibility for the mistake
Adamu attributed the failure to consult the Senators to prevailing circumstances after the general elections.
He said the party would go back to the drawing board to review the zoning arrangement and ensure that justice is done to the aggrieved parties.
“Yes there were no sufficient or adequate consultations with you who are contesting and it is a simple principle of democracy that you get views and opinions. But the circumstances that we found ourselves in after the general elections frustrated our desire.
“We must, as democrats open up. The National Working Committee was very clear, yes we have received with respect, the outcome of the meeting with party leaders, comprising leadership of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the party, and the NWC. We will go back to the drawing board. We owe our party that duty to take a look at whether what was done cannot be changed, what was done needs some changes or reviews. We will take a look at what is necessary to do by the grace of God,” Adamu promised.
The National Working Committee of the APC, led by Adamu, had on May 8 released a list of the party’s zoning of the leadership positions of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The party did not only zone the positions to the geopolitical zones, but also named particular Senators and members of House of Reps as its consensus candidates and urged others to obey the party’s decision and support the chosen candidates.
According to the arrangement released by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, former Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio, from the South South, was chosen as the consensus candidate for the position of the President of the Senate, while Barau Jubrin from North West was endorsed as the candidate for Deputy Senate President.
Abass Tajudeen (Kaduna) from the North West and Ben Kalu (Abia) from the South East were endorsed as candidates for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively.
Morka said the decision was arrived at the meeting of the NWC where it considered the reports of consultations and meetings held with the President- elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, other party leaders and stakeholders on the zoning arrangement.
But apparently distraught with the decisions, some aspiring members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday besieged the Buhari House national secretariat of the party to register their displeasure.
The contestants for the Speaker, House of Representatives and members-elect, led by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Idris Wase, Yusuf Gagdi, Muktar Betara, Ahmed Jaha, Femi Bamishile, Abubakar Nakraba, Mariam Onuoha, Sani Jaji and Sada Soli, held a meeting with Adamu and other members of the NWC.
The lawmakers warned the APC to prepare for a repeat of the 2015 forceful leadership takeover at the National Assembly, should the party stand with its zoning formula.
On Thursday, some aspiring senators, led by Abdulazeez Yari, Orji Uzor Kalu, Sani Musa and Osita Izunaso, took their protest to the party’s headquarters where they also held a meeting with Adamu and other members of the NWC and presented a letter of complaint jointly signed to the chairman.
Addressing the meeting, Yari complained that the senators were not consulted before the party took the decision and threatened that the North West would revolt against the party’s decision at the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, should the party go ahead with the zoning arrangement.
According to Yari, any attempt to zone the Senate Presidency out of Northern Nigeria will spell doom for the ruling party.
The former governor said, “APC will become history if the North is not allowed to produce the next Senate President.
“You know in APC, we are a united family. And that is why we came for further consultations and issued a letter I think about five days ago.
“We came for a better consultation. And the chairman and his team promised that they were going to look into the matter. And what is important and should be very clear to all of us is that the decision of the party or the President-elect or any other leader is a kind of advisory.
“The constitution is very clear. Section 50 Subsection 1 is very clear on what we should do, mandating us on what we should do in the business of legislation from today.
“Even if we are advised that this is where we are going, on that day, we are going to vote according to our conscience because the constitution is very clear on how to choose our leaders among ourselves. This is the constitutional provision.
“The zoning formula is an arrangement and understanding. So it requires dialogue, engagement, discussion, agreement and disagreement. That is what we have come to tell the party chairman and they will need to do more.
“Even if we say we are aggrieved, in 2019, the party did a lot of consultations for all of us. We said no because we had many nominations. As God would have it, we in the majority had our way. And in this case, the majority will have its way. So no matter what we agree, on that day, it is a nomination. If you nominate, it is seconded and then accepted. So, voting and whoever wins will be announced by the clerk.
“What we are saying is not out of the way. The decision to be taken is not out of the way. There are engagements to be done. There must be contacts and better discussions to be done for a smooth take off.”
Also speaking, a former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, urged the APC leadership to reconsider the micro-zoning of the Senate President position.
He expressed concern that although he had never disobeyed the party, the aggrieved aspirants might brazenly disobey the party on the day of voting.
He criticised the party’s decision to micro-zone and pencil down names, noting that while there was nothing wrong with the party zoning positions to geopolitical zones, micro-zoning was fundamentally wrong.
Kalu further said that the party’s decision was unconstitutional and threatened to challenge it in court, adding that he would not obey the APC zoning arrangement if justice is not done to the South East.
Also speaking, Sani Musa insisted that the party must correct injustice done to the North Central zone.
On Wednesday, the North Central caucus Senators-elect in a letter, rejected the arrangement, saying it was an open denial of their rights and privileges.
The letter which was titled, ‘Resolution of the North Central Caucus of the 10th Senate on NASS Leadership Zoning’, was signed by 18 Senators-elect from different political parties.
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 open denial of our rights and privileges, we will have no option than to voice out in the interest of the zone and its 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. And this can only happen if Fairness, Equity and Justice are ensured. And it is on record that the North Central gave the APC 41% of her votes to victory, hence we equally deserve as others.
“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 (6) geopolitical zones of the country will have one each of the six (6) 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 (4) geopolitical zones: the North Central, South South, South East and North West.
“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 so as to ensure fairness, equity and justice for a smooth 10th Senate.”