Irate candidates for the position of Senate President under the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the tenth National Assembly vowed to ignore the micro-zoning policy set by the ruling All Progressives Congress.
The senators complained that no candidate was consulted before the formal decision was made when they met with the party leadership and members of the National Working Committee.
Among other things, they warned that if the APC leadership fails to restrict the zoning arrangement to geopolitical regions, it could lead to open rebellion because the aggrieved aspirants will brazenly disobey the party.
The lawmakers in attendance were former Zamfara Governor, Abdulaziz Yari; the senator-elect representing Imo West, Osita Izunaso; Sani Musa (Niger East), Umar Sadiq (Kwara North) and Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, who recently lost his wife.
Three days prior, the Senate president position had been micro-zoned by the ruling party to Senator Godwin Akpabio, who had previously served as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs. Senator Jibrin Barau, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, had been named as Akpabio’s prospective deputy in the 10th Assembly.
Tajudeen Abass, a well-liked Kaduna politician, was given the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Green Chamber, while the South East representative-elect won the position of Deputy Speaker.
Addressing the NWC members, Musa argued that when it comes to rewarding regions for votes and electoral victory, the North cannot be overlooked because of its massive contributions.
The senator-elect for Niger East told the leadership of the party not to push its luck further, saying an internal democracy would have produced the needed consensus candidates it seeks.
He stated, “There are certain times we should not push our luck. The NWC had a meeting with Mr President-elect. I respect Mr. President-elect. He is a tactical politician. He knows every inch of it. He will be able to listen to whatever an organ like APC will bring to him.
“Whatever anyone will tell him. He will want to aggregate his views. We have been saying that the status quo cannot continue but if we do not allow internal democracy to prosper, how do we expect to change things?
“I am very sure you will go back and take a look, especially when we are talking about internal democracy because even the issue of the national assembly is an issue of internal democracy.”
Kalu, a two-term governor of Abia State, also made a case for the region, saying that penciling down names of favored aspirants was undemocratic.
He issued a warning, saying that it would be unfair to blame his South Eastern constituents for skipping the party during the presidential election for clear reasons.
The senator added that when sharing political and parliamentary seats in the nation, federal character rather than votes should be a key factor.
He claimed that if the present micro-zoning system is not reformed, they will be compelled to defy the ruling party’s directives before the inauguration.
Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the National Chairman of the ruling party, responded to the complaints by urging the disgruntled aspirants to exercise patience and let the party reengage with the president-elect and other stakeholders.
The APC chair also acknowledged that the situation might have been handled more effectively if all of the candidates had been supported, as he had advised some disappointed House of Representatives candidates on Wednesday.
He said, “Hold the fire until the last word is heard from us. We are the custodians of the party as NWC but we are not acting alone. The voice of the president-elect is an essential voice. We must accommodate him as best we can. I will not compromise on that. He is right now outside the country.
“By the grace of God, when he comes back we will go back to the drawing board and put our heads together again to see what we will get. I cannot preempt that. I will wait until we hold that meeting with Mr. president-elect and the same team we had a meeting with. If we need to enlarge the committee, we will do so. We will be better informed through contributions that we will be made.”