APC denies zoning N’ Assembly leadership positions
THE All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday faulted media reports that the positions of the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives had been zoned to the North Central and Southwest geo-political zones of the country.
APC, in a statement issued in Abuja by its National Secretary, Hon. Mai Mala Buni, stated that there was no iota of truth that it’s national working committee (NWC) had zoned the aforementioned seats.
The party said it was deeply embarrassed by the story, which was apparently planted in the media to sow the seeds of instability in the party.
“The NWC never discussed the issued of zoning at its meeting. Therefore, the report of its decision on zoning is a figment of the imagination of whoever concocted the story,’’ it said.
The statement came on the heels of a declaration by a group of elected Senators on the platform of the party who called for increased efforts towards achieving consensus on the process of picking the Senate President to ensure cohesion and discipline within the party.
A statement issued by the Senators who called themselves “the APC Unity Forum” also ruled out any primary election adding that it was never discussed or contemplated.
Signed by Senators Robert Ajayi Boroffice (Southwest), Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Northeast), Barnabas Gemade (North Central) and Abu Ibrahim (Northwest), the statement lamented that the current stiff contest among APC senators for the nation’s number three position was portraying the party as a party of desperate, selfish and undisciplined people.
The statement reads: “Given the conflicting media accounts surrounding the issue of the prospective candidate for the Senate presidency from the APC, we of the Unity Forum are constrained to make this clarification. This response has become necessary because we do not want to portray our party as a collection of desperate, undisciplined and selfish people. Rather, we believe that party preservation and the overall interest of the party should be paramount at this point.
“For the records, there was no time before the retreat, during the retreat or after the retreat where and when the issue of a primary election to pick the Senate President was tabled or agreed upon. Nowhere in the party leadership structure can we find the mandate for the conduct of any election with regard to the emergence of the Senate Presidency candidate. Any contrary information, out there in the Social or any kind of media is false, self –serving and intended to mislead the public.”
Meanwhile, a leading aspirant for the race of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Mohammed Monguno has stepped down for Mr Femi Gbajabiamila.
Yesterday, Mungono told dozens of his colleagues who had converged at the Rockview Hotel that he was stepping down for Gbajabiamila who he said “is better positioned to lead the House of Representatives effectively.”
According to him, “After broad consultations and thoughtful consideration, I have decided not to run for the office of the Speaker in the 8th Assembly. Instead, I give my full endorsement to my friend and colleague, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who I believe has the requisite qualification to lead the 8th Assembly in the onerous task of addressing the important and pressing needs of the citizens of this nation. I will instead be running for the Deputy Speaker position on a joint ticket with Hon. Gbajabiamila.
“I am withdrawing from the race for two reasons: First, is to ensure party cohesion. As leaders of our great party we can ill-afford to have a divided House if we are to deliver on the much-needed change we promised Nigerians in the course of the campaign, and; second, Femi stands tall amongst our peers in terms of experience and understanding of the contours and nuances of the legislative process.
“The convention in representative democracies the world over is that having served, as minority leader you ascend to the Speakership position should your party gain the majority. The reason is simple: managing the complexities and subtleties of the legislative process is serious business. It cannot be left in the hands of anyone who desires to learn on the job!”
In another development, Bauchi South Senator-elect, Malam Ali Wakili has endorsed the candidature of Senator Bukola Saraki for the position of the Senate President.
According to Wakili, who spoke to reporters in Bauchi, “ The issue of National Assembly leadership is about integrity, competence, discipline and leadership skills and not about fixing of candidates just for mere horse-trading.
“Our stand is about electing a Senator, who eventually becomes the chairman of National Assembly and relates with the executive on behalf of Nigerians, fellow Senators and the National Assembly as an institution.
“Furthermore, leadership of National Assembly is about the Senator, who has the wherewithal to stabilize the legislative institution, working with the executive and judicial arm of government to be effective and perform to their optimal capacity.”