Godswill Akpabio, a former minister of Niger Delta affairs, has been told to shelve his senate president bid for Abdulaziz Yari, a former governor of Zamfara.
The plea was issued by a pro-democracy group known as the Coalition for Parliamentary Democracy (CPD).
Menike Johnson, CPD’s national coordinator, said senators-elect interested in running for senate president should show capacity and not rely on zoning.
Johnson said “imposing” Akpabio on the senate is not in the interest of the country.
“CPD in tandem with other pro-democracy organisations insists that those interested in the office of the senate president should rather marshal their agenda to Nigerians and senators-elect and not rely on retrogressive and sectional arguments of zoning,” he said.
“They should not rely on external endorsements which is undemocratic, promotes mediocrity, incompetence and breeds a corrupt and rubber stamp parliamentary leadership that cannot serve the interest of the people.
“Imposing leadership on senate could lead to more division in the APC and create a frosty legislature/executive relationship which is not in the interest of the nation at this critical time of our national history.
“The senate does not belong to a particular political party but to Nigerians.
“In the same vein, senate leadership positions are serious positions that require capacity and willpower and not retail commodities that will be allocated to mediocrity and incompetence on the platter of zoning.
“The CPD therefore urges the senators-elect to assert the independence of the legislature and the principle of the separation of powers in serving the interest of Nigerians by upholding competence and not zoning in the election of a new senate president.”
Yari has insisted on contesting the position, even though Akpabio is the preferred candidate of President Bola Tinubu and APC.
Orji Uzor Kalu, chief whip of the senate, and Osita Izunaso, a former national working committee (NWC) member of the APC, have also insisted on running.