- Says it reinforces injustice, enhances inequity
- Makes case for N’Central, N’East
- ‘Don’t take us for granted’, aggrieved aspirants warn APC
BY MAYOWA SAMUEL
The Governor of Ondo State and Chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has faulted the zoning arrangement of the ruling All Progressives Congress for the offices of presiding officers of the 10th National Assembly, describing it as a “skewed arrangement that reinforces injustice and enhances inequity”.
Akeredolu, in a statement personally issued in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Wednesday, noted that the “intentions and motives of the zoning formula represent early signs of steps aimed at attempts to cabin the hard-earned Presidency for our Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu by a few individuals with eyes on Aso Rock Power Buttons.”
“It is trite to aver, that, it stands logic on the head that one geo-political zone, North West in this regard, will be favoured with two presiding officers positions out of four while North Central suffers the consequences for its innocence and shrewd loyalty by having none,” he said.
According to Akeredolu, “the move to zone the National Assembly leadership positions on the behest of interested personalities with perceived closeness to the President-elect manifesting, lays the dangerous foundation of distrust, needless suspicion even as it structures nothing but a combination of booby traps. We must avoid all these.”
While saying that it was an insidious permutation that North East would be deprived in the face of the unsavory generosity dispensed through two slots to a particular geo-political zone, Akeredolu noted that it was also self-repudiating for one to argue, therefore, that the Speaker of the House of Representatives could not also emerge from the North East.
“Let the North play a stronger, more robust, and all-inclusive role in the emergence of the positions zoned to the region, especially the Speakership.
“Furthermore, it strikes a huge ingratitude that the role of the Progressive Governors Forum appears unimportant. As leaders of the Party in their respective States, there cannot be a greater disservice to them that a consensus was yet to be reached when the NWC hurriedly released a dangerous tool for the opposition in the guise of a zoning formula. To me, even on this note, it’s unacceptable.
“Does it not also exude a serious discomfort that the aspirants to the Speakership were not consulted, approached, and effectively engaged before the purported zoning formula? It does, and so.
“It is in this regard that I salute the courage of the Speakership aspirants for their show of solidarity, companionship, and applaudable love for the Party in their rejection, resentment, and objection to the brazenly teleguided zoning arrangement that is skewed and targeted against some zones and identified individuals.
“Their action is commendable just as they are urged to ensure they pursue this to a logical conclusion. This is an unworkable arrangement that reinforces injustice and enhances inequity, and I join them in rejecting this zoning formula.
“I call on the NWC of our great Party to follow the path of purity and Justice. It is perhaps expedient that Mr. President-elect interrogates this skewed arrangement and gives direction that reflects our collective commitment to equality and fairness.
“In this particular case, and to avoid a repeat of untoward situations, it is advised that the APC NWC immediately summons the National Executive Committee (NEC) after robust National Caucus/Stakeholders parley to agree on terms that would strengthen our great Party,” the governor stated.
‘Don’t take us for granted’, aggrieved aspirants warn APC
Meanwhile, aspirants kicking against the adoption of Tajudeen Abass and Benjamin Kalu as favoured candidates for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives of the 10th National Assembly stormed the APC national secretariat on Wednesday.
The aggrieved aspirants, tagged the G-6, were led by incumbent Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Idris Wase.
With him were Mukhtar Aliyu Betara, Sani Jaji, Yusuf Gadyi, Sada Soli and Mariam Onuoha.
The Leader of the House, Al-Hassan Ado Doguwa was absent.
All the five aspirants were given the opportunity to speak.
Wase expressed disappointment over the consensus deal which was sealed by the APC National Caucus and ratified by the National Working Committee without consultations with other aspirants.
He said, “We are people who have been aspiring for the office of Speakership for the House of Representatives at the 10th National Assembly.
“We recall that at the meeting at the Villa, you asked us to slow down for the APC zoning arrangement
“We have been reaching out to our critical stakeholders to enjoy their buy-in.
“Unfortunately, while we were expecting the zoning arrangement we heard that the offices have been micro-zoned.
“None of us was consulted. We first read about it on social media and only heard that a list has been announced on television. It is most unfortunate.
“We feel betrayed as if our contributions aren’t recognised as if we aren’t members of this party.
“I don’t want to believe that President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is behind this.
“We have worked for the party. We are here to protest and appeal to you that what has been released would not stand.
“We must build this party in the spirit of equity and fairness and the provisions of this Constitution.
“Mr. Chairman, I want to appeal to the conscience of this institution of our party to review what has been done. We should not repeat what has happened in the past, the Tambuwalisation of the House and the emergence of Saraki as Senate President of the 8th National Assembly shouldn’t be taken for granted.”
Another aspirant and Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Betara, recalled his contributions to stabilise the Green Chamber for the incumbent Speaker and lamented that Femi Gbajabiamila was about offering him and others the short end of the stick.
“I stepped down for Femi in 2019 when Senator Bola Tinubu called me. After the election, the president-elect still called me to hold the House for Femi. I told him I would work with Femi if he would relate with us with an honest mind.
“I have done well for the House and I have done well for the party. When we were going for several elections, I supported our members.
“I have done well for the NASS. Sir, I have 38 members including my chairman as members of my Committee. To stabilise the House for Femi, I co-opted a lot of our members.
“The person the Speaker is picking, we can’t work with him.
“The party is trying to zone two Presiding officers to one zone. It is never done. We need to sit again for more consultations,” he opined.
Yusuf Gadyi told Senator Abdullai Adamu and other national officers of the party that the zoning arrangement just ratified was an insult to the party.
“The zoning in circulation is an insult to the motto of APC: Justice, peace and unity. What is happening has made some of us believe that Buhari is the most perfect democrat in our party. He could have imposed a presidential candidate but he refused to do that. Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo was the closest person to him.
“We are here to remind you of the motto of APC. Do we want unity when the North West wants to pick Deputy Senate President and Speaker and the North Central that gave four states is being relegated?
“What is in circulation isn’t acceptable to us. The NASS isn’t a Federal Executive Council of the president-elect. We lawmakers should be allowed to pick our leaders. Our party should not expect that our loyalty will be guaranteed at the expense of justice, fairness and equity. We will resist imposition.”
The National Chairman of the APC who commended Idris Wase and his team assured them that their grievances would be looked into after extensive consultations with other stakeholders in the ruling party.
“As leaders of our party, we can’t help but listen to you. We can’t help but understand you and live by the articles of our great party.
“We have listened to you, we won’t open discussions on the nitty gritty of your positions, we will do more consultations so that we carry along the greatest number of our great party.
“There must be fair hearing before we take position. We like the fact that you come very straight. It is your party and we have heard you. I plead with you in good conscience to give us time before we can come with finality to your demand. You have shown loyalty and we will invite you, in due course,” Adamu said.