National chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu, has appealed to favoured candidates of the party’s national caucus and the National Working Committee (NWC) for the positions of Senate President and deputy Senate president of the 10th National Assembly, Senators Godswill Akpabio and Barau Jibrin to deepen consultations with aggrieved aspirants ahead of the June 13 date for election of the presiding officers of both chambers of parliament.
Adamu also declared that the lawmakers in the National Assembly and not his leadership would decide the fate of Akpabio and Jibrin.
He gave the advice on Tuesday when he met with Akpabio, who led a coalition of his supporters across the political parties divide under the platform of the Stability Group to the party’s national secretariat.
Checks revealed that aggrieved aspirants for the office of Speaker House of Representatives under the aegis of G-6 met last week with APC NWC. Three of the aspirants for the office of Senate President equally stormed the party national secretriat last week.
The list included former Zamfara State governor and senator representing Zamfara West, Abdul Aziz Yari; Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu and senator representing Niger East, Sani Musa.
At Tuesday meeting of the senators, Nigerian Tribune sighted lawmakers from the opposition parties: Rufai Hanga of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), deputy Governor of Rivers State and senator-elect for Rivers West, Ipalibo Harry-Banigo.
Adamu, who once represented Nasarawa West, noted that the party leadership has no power to impose candidates on the entire Senate as the leadership would emerge through voting, however acknowledged that consultations by the Stability Group was yielding the desired results.
He said:”We need to deepen our consultations so that we carry along those who are going to decide who becomes the principal officers. Now, there is sufficient calm and we are convinced that we are seeing the outcome of these consultations and we won’t relent. Whatever signatures you collect, the final decision is on the floors of the Senate and the House.
“All these efforts are very good and important, but we are in a democracy and people are bound to have opinions and we have no right to stop them. We must listen to them. The aggrieved were here and we listened to them . This is in the spirit of our directive for further consultations. I am happy that we are seeing the results. But we wait for June 13 and see what happens.
“I want us to have a rancour-free election. Even if everybody says it must be Akpabio, the rule of the House says there must be election. We can’t void the procedure of the election, even after the president proclamation.
Those who are in the Senate are aware of the rules.
“So, I do hope and pray that we will carry the day and be victorious. But let me warn: don’t be late . I hope I am communicating. Don’t be late. Once bitten, twice shy.”
In his remark, Akpabio commended the APC NWC for endorsing the zoning deal, saying the zoning template would inspire sense of belonging and stability as he noted that except for the first republic, the zone has not enjoyed the privilege of producing the Senate President.
He stated: “We are here to show solidarity and appreciation for the endorsement after wide consultation with stakeholders in Nigeria. Yes indeed, the election are over and governance is about to begin
“The South-South part of the country last had a Senate president in 1979 about 44 years ago in person of Joseph Wayas from National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and our brothers from the South-East with very capable people have held the position since 1999 for about eight years and also producing the deputy Senate president for 12 years till the current dispensation. The North Central produced David Mark for 12 years and Bukola Saraki and Ibrahim Mantu as deputy Senate President.
“Since the president is from the South and the vice from the North, it is right that the Senate president is coming from the South. Of course, the South-West is left out, with the South South hoping that their brothers from the East will support them.
“The wise men from the NWC graciously zoned it to the South South. And a party man who served six years in the executive, eight years as governor, served as the minority leader of the Senate and minister to lead the 10th Senate.”
Disclosing that the Stability Group has its membership cuts across eight political parties, Akpabio told the party national leadership that the group would also meet with the leadership of the oppostion political parties.
“I want to thank you on behalf of the senators who are here and to say that the 10th Senate is totally different from all other Senate. We have eight political parties. We have the APC, PDP, YPP, Labour Party, NNPP, and others.
“We deliberately decided not to mention the names of our party because we also intent to visit the chairmen of other political parties who made us the tenth senate believing that we will gain also from their inputs and advice.
Just to mention is that we have Senator Hanga quietly seated there of the NNPP from Kano as an example who mentioned his name without adding his party.
“This is because when we walk into the Senate, we will be addressed as senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Akpabio, however, appealed to Adamu to prevail on the adamant lawmakers on the platform of the APC to withdraw from the race and team up with him .
According to him, “we intend to bring stability, and we intend to make you proud to put an end to poverty, insecurity and unemployment through legislations that will change things through supervision and strict oversight.”
Senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume who announced his withdrawal from the race last week told members of the party NWC that the Stability Group had been able to collect signatures of 70 senators elect ahead of the date of the inauguration.
On the entourage of Senator Akpabio were Senators Olamilekan Adeola, Ibrahim Geidam, Opeyemi Bamidele, Ali Ndume, Tokunbo Abiru, Gbenga Daniel, Salihu Mustapha and Yemi Adaramodu.
Others were Senators Mohammed Monguno, Darlington Nwokocha, Asuquo Ekpeyong, amongst others.
Meanwhile, former governor of Zamfara State and senator-elect (Zamfara West), Abdul Aziz Yari has declared that the zoning template of the APC for the presiding officers of the National Assembly was in conflict with certain provisions of the constitution.
Yari made the submission on Tuesday while speaking as a guest on a Arise TV monitored programme, The Morning Show.
The lawmaker maintained that the leadership of the 10th National Assembly considering the favoured candidates was against the Federal Character principle as enshrined in the constitution.
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