Senate presidency race intensify as Yari hints of alliance with Kalu, Izunaso, Musa
.Dares APC, says zoning arrangement unconstitutional
The race for the 10th senate presidency intensify on Thursday as a frontline contender and former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, disclosed that a possible alliance with other three major contenders is in the offing.
Yari, who is the senator-elect representing Zamfara West, said talks are ongoing between his team and that of Orji Uzoh Kalu (Abia North), Mohammed Sani Musa (Niger-East) and Osita Izunaso (Imo West).
The former Zamfara governor gave the hint when he paid a courtesy visit to the National Working Committee (NWC) of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, at the party’s secretariat in Abuja, on Thursday.
The APC had chosen former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio as President of the Senate, and Abbas Tajudeen, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, sparking outcry among lawmakers and members of the party.
Yari who was at the NNPP secretariat to solicit the support of the NNPP lawmakers for his ambition was accompanied by Izunaso, Senator Kawu Sumaila (Kano South) among other lawmakers.
“We believe in one Nigeria. About four of us are working together, himself (Izunaso), Kalu, and Musa. We’re all working together and we believe that the most important is the constituency that we are which is the National Assembly. We are going to continue with this struggle until when we get there. It is not over until it is over”, Yari declared.
He also rejected the All Progressives Congress (APC) zoning arrangement for the incoming 10th senate, insisting that the party’s choice of candidates was not binding on him
While noting that the Senate is an independent arm which must be allowed to operate freely, the former Zamfara governor pointed out that some people were using religion to disenfranchise credible candidates.
He wondered why religious critics did not speak up when David Mark and Ike Ekweremadu who were Christians were Senate and deputy senate presidents respectively.
He said he would visit the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party, Young People’s Party, All Progressives Grand Alliance and the Social Democratic Party, to solicit their support.
He said: “During the PDP era, hardly you won’t have the ruling party with 2/3 in either the senate or the house. But I can tell you that democracy is advancing and people are being selective in their choice. Today my party is struggling with 59 members as senators. In the house, if you put the number, the opposition are leading with about 183. It has to be collective. Today, each and every party is key and it’s chip.in words is critical to democracy.
“Zoning is a kind of arrangement or advisory. The real work and how to do anything, the constitution has spelt it out. We are all here because we have the backing of the constitution and we are in the National Assembly because of the constitution.
“The president was sworn in under the oath of the constitution and whatever one does, you must follow the constitution. Therefore, any decision taking by anyone not in order of Constitution is null and void and we believe that the Constitution will prevail.
“We are going to get to the floor of the House and election will take place. And knowing that it is a democratic setting, we need to be having this kind of engagement.
“This is my first place of call. But I will also visit other parties; Labour Party, SDP PDP APGA and YPP and look for their support of their members on this project.
“That is to show to you that 10th Assembly is completely different that we knew that we have seven parties. The vote of every party counts and it is critical to us.
“We are going round to canvas the support of the national working committee or the leadership of the parties so that they can talk to their members and they will do the right thing for Nigeria and Nigerians.
On his visit to NNPP, he said he was at the party to solicit “the party leadership support on his ambition”.
“We are here to solicit your support in the national assembly to work with us and produce the leadership. Every vote count and it is not over until it is over. Therefore, it is critical for us to come and join hands so that we will have the leadership and an independent legislature. I believe that with your support, we will be able to produce that.”
Responding, acting National Chairman of the party, Abba Kawu-Ali, described Yari as a competent leader “capable to occupy the sit of the senate Presidency.
According to him, Yari has shown his capacity as a two-term governor of Zamfara state, adding that “we are confident that when you get there you won’t fail Nigeria.”