A member-elect on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the fate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) consensus candidate for the seat of the Senate President for the 10th National Assembly, Godswill Akpabio, lies in the hands of Senators-elect of the Assembly and not zoning.
According to a member-elect, who pleaded anonymity, several people do not understand how parliament work, noting that a party in majority in the House has the right to decide on candidates and the members have the right to support or not.
Naija News recall that in May, the APC leadership zoned the Senate President and the Deputy Senate President seats to Senator Godswill Akpabio from South-South and Senator Jibrin Barau from North-West, respectively, while the party endorsed the member-elect representing Kaduna (North-West), Tajudeen Abbas, as speakership candidate, while the member-elect from Abia State (South-East), Benjamin Kalu, was picked for the Deputy Speaker slot.
However, aspirants like Senators Abdulaziz Yari, (Zamfara West); Osita Izunaso (Imo West) and Orji Kalu (Abia North) have insisted that they would not step down their ambition to contest for the seat of the Senate President for the party’s consensus candidate.
Giving his observation after the meeting held with President Bola Tinubu in his bid to resolve the zoning crisis, the PDP chieftain said the president frankly spoke well about working together along party lines.
He, however, said “Let me tell you: many people don’t understand how the parliament works. There is a role for the party. Immediately a party has won the election and it is the majority in the parliament, the party has a decision to make and who to support. And if they zone their way to the leadership position, that is their prerogative. It is not really about zoning, it is about nomination and a party has the duty to nominate and support someone. And they have done that.’’
Speaking further, the opposition PDP member told The Punch that “He (Tinubu) spoke very well, frankly. He stressed the importance of nation-building and working together. He said politics is over, it is time now to focus on governance, in building confidence and ensuring that we focus on delivering service to the people.’’
When asked if the issue of zoning Tinubu mentioned was in the context of the 10th Assembly leadership, the lawmaker said, “Yes, he enjoined everybody to support the choice they have made and work together.”
“Before then, the Vice-President (Kashim Shettima) had stressed the need not to push too far the issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket by allowing a third person – the Senate President – to also have an Islamic background. You know that Yari is contesting for President of the Senate.”
Meanwhile, the media consultant for the senator-elect representing Imo West, Senator Osita Izunaso, Kehinde Olaosebikan, asserted that the President during his meeting with the legislators never told anyone to step down for anyone, instead, he demanded a Christian as the Senate President.
Olaosebikan said the President’s demand however suit his principal noting that his boss would emerge as Senate President.
He said, “The President never told anyone to step down for anyone. He only made a case for a Christian as the Senate President, and this makes my boss more qualified.
“Senator Izunazo would be Senate President by God’s grace and he isn’t stepping down for anyone.“
Similarly, the Chief Press Secretary to the Senate Whip, Orji Kalu, Emeka Nwala, maintained that his principal was still in the race and that “It’s too early to determine a thong. Senator Kalu is still in the race.”