BY BENEDICT NWACHUKWU, ABUJA
All is not well in the camps of Senators Abdulaziz Yari, Orji Kalu and Osita Isunazo, on who to finally support for the office of the Senate President, with Kalu said to be threatening Yari’s supporters with a defection to the camp of the president.
Trouble started when the trio, who have yet to decide on who to position for the office of the President of the 10th Senate met on Sunday night in a popular hotel (names withheld) outside Abuja to take a final position on who to support.
It was gathered that after heated arguments among the trio and their sponsors, those who spoke in support of the former Governor of Zamfara State outnumbered those who spoke in support of Kalu and Izunaso.
An enraged Kalu was said to have threatened to dump the group for the President’s choices if the group didn’t rescind its decision not to support him for the office, since the party had long zoned the office to the south.
He was said to have brought to the notice of Yari’s sponsors that it would be the height of religious insensitivity on the part of Yari to want to occupy the office of the Senate President when the President and his vice are both Muslims.
It was also learnt that after very strong arguments for and against Yari’s ambition, which almost resulted in a physical contest, Kalu threatened to walk out of the meeting.
Sensing the implications of his walk out and having threatened to dump the group, he was offered the position of the Deputy Senate President and Izunaso, chairman of Senate appropriation committee.
It was not clear if Kalu and Izunazo accepted the offer.
Sources at the meeting said that, “with the way things are going on now in our camp, Kalu might dump the group because of their selfishness and insensitivity to national peace and unity.”
Meanwhile, an APC stakeholders forum has called on the party to resolve the zoning logjam over the leadership of the 10th National Assembly as the inauguration date approaches.
Speaking at the APC national headquarters in Abuja on Monday, leader of the forum, Reverend Dominic Alancha said the zoning of leadership positions in the 10th National Assembly had slowed down the administration of President Bola Tinubu.
He said, “I am pained because much as we want the new administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to hit the ground running, we observe with dismay how it is being slowed down owing to the delay and time being lost over the issue of zoning leadership positions in the 10th National Assembly.
“The parliament is a key component in any democratic structure and its organization determines the speed with which an administration can succeed in its quest to deliver dividends of democracy to the people.
“Today is the 5th of June and by next week, on the 13th to be precise, the 10th National Assembly will be inaugurated by President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, which means that we have barely one week to project the right leadership for both the Senate and House of Representatives.”
He lamented that for an election that was concluded since February 25, ordinarily, the decision to zone National Assembly leadership positions should not have taken this long if due process, respect for order and egalitarian principles had been followed.
He said it was the inexplicable and biased decision of the APC to ignore this sound and time tested processes by going to introduce strange and obtuse arrangements where a whole geopolitical zone was sidelined while another was given two key positions in the National Assembly hierarchy that had led to this quagmire.
He stated, “As responsible citizens who wish President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to succeed, we cannot fold our arms and do nothing when a situation that could lead to social cataclysm is being introduced.
“Zoning the position of Senate President in the 10th Assembly to the South South geopolitical zone, and the position of Deputy Senate President to the North West zone; while the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives is also zoned to the North West and the position of Deputy Speaker to the South East is unacceptable because it excludes the North Central from parliamentary leadership.
“We note the observation that the national chairman of our great party is from the North Central zone and with the appointment of Senator George Akume as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, that the North Central has been compensated.
“But we say no to these assertions as they do not respect the principle of separation of power in a democracy.
“While the executive arm can decide what is best suited for it in allocating offices within it, the parliament in Nigeria operates on a principle that complements the two topmost positions in the executive arm such that the four principal offices of Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Deputy Speaker are shared among the four other zones outside where the president and vice president come from.”
He insisted that rather than weaken the chances of the North Central zone therefore, the occupation of the offices of APC national chairman and SGF by persons from the North Central zone emphasised the need for it to have a corresponding structure at the National Assembly to harness the gains of the two offices in the executive arm of government.