- Adamu warns against repeat of ‘Saraki coup’
- Akpabio, Barau beg aggrieved aspirants
- Yari kicks, says APC has derailed
BY BENEDICT NWACHUKWU, ABUJA
Despite the choice of Godswill Akpabio as the All Progressives Congress’ consensus candidate for the position of Senate President, the former Akwa Ibom State Governor is still facing stiff opposition from members of the ruling party.
The zoning arrangement has been creating disaffection within the party as contestants have continued with their campaigns despite the zoning arrangement released by the party.
With the rejection of the APC’s zoning of National Assembly leadership positions, the party might be heading for a repeat of the 2015 scenario as aggrieved aspirants are threatening to work against the party’s choice.
The Senator-elect for Zamfara West, and Senate presidential aspirant, Abdul Aziz Abubakar Yari, has rejected the adoption of Akpabio, insisting that the contest would be based on constitutional provisions and not instructions by anyone.
Also on Tuesday, the National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu, warned Akpabio against being late at plenary on the day of voting to avoid a repeat of the 2015 scenario.
He cautioned that the ruling party risked a repeat of the 8th Assembly, where Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, successfully revolted against the choices of the party.
Adamu, while welcoming over 40 senators-elect, led by Akpabio, at the Buhari House national headquarters of the party, said, “We did in the announcement also clearly mentioned that we needed further and better consultations. We need deepened consultations to carry along many of those who are aggrieved.
“From what you just said, there is ample evidence that there have been consultations and we will not relent to ensure that if it were possible for all senators-elect to agree on whatever we do, whatsoever signature we collect, the final decision will be on the floor of the Senate and also 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.
“I’m happy that we are heeding the advice and directives we gave to make consultations and it is good that it is going on and I’m happy that it is being very fruitful. We will wait till the 10th of June on the floor of the House. I want us to have a rancour-free election on the floor.
“Because even if everybody says it is Akpabio or Y or X, the rules of the game says there must be an election. Those who are in the Senate are aware of the rules. On the day of the proclamation by the President, the Clerk makes the proclamation. 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,” Adamu said.
Akpabio said, “We are here to show solidarity and appreciation for the endorsement after wide consultations with stakeholders in Nigeria. Yes indeed, the election is over and governance is about to begin.”
Akpabio recalled that the South South part of the country produced the Senate President in 1979, about 44 years ago, when the late Joseph Wayas from the National Party of Nigeria, and from Cross River State, was the Senate President.
“And our brothers from the South East with very capable people have held the position since 1999 for about eight years and also produced the Deputy Senate President for 12 years till the current dispensation. The North Central has produced David Mark, Bukola Saraki and Ibrahim Mantu for 12 years.
“Since the President is from the South and the Vice President is from the North, it is right that the Senate President is coming from the South. Of course, the South West is out, left with the South South, hoping that their brothers from the South East will support them,” he said.
“We are grateful the leadership gave this opportunity to Senator Godswill Akpabio, the uncommon senator and his brother, Senator Jubrin Barau. We will definitely bring growth to this country. And we are poised to bring change, and we still have serving governors, Dave Umahi and Governor Sani Bello and we are 70 in all and still growing.
“I want to appeal through you that you talk to some members of APC who have still not supported the party’s decision. When I was young I was told about three Gs to fear. One is God, then the Gun and the Government. Both the Bible and the Quran asked us to respect leadership because that is the only way to progress. We urge you to talk to them because that’s the only way to make progress.
“We have interacted with the Governors of Lagos, Katsina and even Rivers States to tell them about our plans and policies.
“We intend to bring stability, and we intend to make you proud to put an end to poverty, insecurity and unemployment through legislation that will change things through supervision and strict oversight,” Akpabio said.
Barau applauds NWC over endorsement
Senator Jubrin Barau appreciated the Adamu-led NWC of the APC for endorsing Akpabio’s team for the senate top positions.
He said, “We are here to thank you for the endorsement you have given us. We are here to appreciate the endorsement you have given us to be the Senate President and Deputy Senate President.
“We assure you that we shall abide by the manifestoes and programmes of the party. We want to assure you that we shall continue to be loyal and stand for everything this party stands for, knowing that it is for the good of Nigerians.
“We shall by every means draw the attention of our colleagues who are yet to identify with this endorsement. This administration that will be sworn in in two weeks, by the grace of God, will bring unprecedented development to this country.”
Opeyemi Bamidele, while corroborating, said, “There is nothing the APC is doing that the other minority parties will not do. Hence, there is nothing illegal that the ruling party is doing.
“There is no better place to appeal that you speak to the 12 remaining members of this party who have yet to join the decision of the party. That’s through you sir, while not taking away from them the right to contest but stop divisive statements or anything that can further heighten tension in this country. If anybody is still saying that the interest of the North is being threatened because of an Akpabio who believes in resource control and an Asiwaju who believes in resource control, it is very unfortunate.
“As a senator and elder statesman, the chairman of the constitution review is going to be the Deputy Senate president, please help us tell them that Senator Barau will be the chairman. That no law can be made without the backing of the two thirds of the state houses of assembly and the North has the majority.
“Also, the man holding the gavel in the House of Representatives is from the North and no law can be passed without the concurrence of the house and the north has the majority. So, please tell those who are perpetuating those lies to desist.”
APC fails its tradition of consultation, says Yari
However, the Senator-elect representing Zamfara West, Abdulaziz Yari, on Tuesday, said that the APC had failed to keep to its tradition of proper consultation before deciding on the zoning arrangements announced.
Yari, a former governor of Zamfara State, said this during a live television interview monitored by The Point.
He said it would be unfair to the northern part of the country if leaders of the three arms of government are from the south.
He faulted the zoning arrangement of the ruling party over the legislative arm leadership by not following due consultation and consideration for the federal character.
He said, “Right from the beginning, the party has a tradition of widening the consultation: meeting with the president and all the members of the National Assembly; because it is not the party’s business but that of the country.
“But the party did not do any of the above, and what we saw in the media was that they had two meetings, and we were given names to adopt. That is not adequate enough. Because all of them are just advisory bodies, the constitution gives the right to choose National Assembly leaders to only the parliamentarians. The party can zone, but it is left for the individuals to accept or reject.”
“APC has zoned and now we are asking them questions: On what basis? Have you taken into cognizance the federal character? The President, Chief Justice of the federation, and National Assembly Chairman – all the three arms of government — are in one place? The Chief Justice is from Oyo State, Tinubu is from Lagos State, and Akpabio is from Akwa Ibom, all at the same time. And the next Chief Justice is also going to be from the South West,” Yari argued.