North, South differ on APC’s choice of next N’Assembly leadership
Ongoing controversy around zoning and election of principal officers in the coming 10th National Assembly may affect the long term relationship among ethnic nationalities, operating under Southern Middle Belt Leadership Forum (SMBLF).
Yesterday, the arm of the Middle Belt Leadership Forum (MBLF) reminded the All Progressives Congress (APC), President-elect, Bola Tinubu and federal lawmakers-elect that it would amount to “injustice and attempted alienation of the northern part of the country, if the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives is ceded to any other zone of Nigeria.”
Its spokesman, Isuwa Dogo, observed: “Since the presidency is currently in the South, the judiciary also in the South, and we have the vice-president-elect in the Northeast, we believe in absolute terms that the leadership of the National Assembly should go to the North.” He said it was the position of the forum that the Senate presidency should go to Northwest or North Central, while the House of Representatives speakership should also rotate between the two regions.
It insisted that the next Senate President must be a Christian for religion balancing. In a similar vein, President, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Yerima Shettima, blamed the current zoning crisis on the meddlesomeness of APC leadership. He said the issue would not have escalated if the party had just micro-zoned without mentioning a preferred candidate.
BUT dismissing the MBLF and AYCF argument, National Publicity Secretary of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) South South arm of SMBLF, Ken Robinson, submitted that it was unfortunate that Dogo allowed himself to be caught up in the web of ethnic sentiments.
In a chat with The Guardian, he recalled that when the North produced Buhari as President, erstwhile Senate President Bukola Saraki (North Central) and Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) were both from the region.He noted that a South-South person, nominated as CJN, was later disgraced out of office and replaced with a northerner.
Robinson also faulted MBLF for reviewing number of votes from the Northwest to make its demand, without considering South-South as a bigger stake to Nigeria’s health.
PRESIDENT, Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum (YRLF), Akin Malaolu described the whole scenario as failure of leadership on the part of APC. He said: “While it may not look morally right for MBLF to demand to control leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives, YRLF may have no choice than to support them.
This is what we saw that made us to support Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) in the presidential election.” THIS is even as Yoruba Council Worldwide, yesterday, warned Tinubu against imposing a 10th National Assembly leadership on Nigerians, urging its independence.
It cautioned that the conundrum might jeopardise return of Southwest to power in 2027 and beyond. The advice was contained in a communiqué issued after a one-day post-election summit tagged: “Apero Oodua 2023,” in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Signed by its president, Oladotun Hassan and Director-General of Omoluabi Coalition Group, Tunji Balogun, the document reads in part: “The Yoruba Council Worldwide (YWC), after its summit, examined the recent electoral successes that put one of its illustrious sons, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as next President of Nigeria.
“Many thanks to our northern brethren for making this a reality, despite having two prominent sons in the race.”