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APC disappoints Betara, Doguwa, Kalu, Musa in 10th NASS Leadership

On Monday, the party in power, the All Progressives Congress (APC), confirmed the zoning arrangement that had been reported earlier. The party chose Senator Goodwill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom state, to be the next Senate President, and Senator Jubril Barau, a current senator, to be the Deputy Senate President.

In addition, the party declared Abbas Tajudeen to be its candidate for the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Benjamin Kalu to be its candidate for the position of the next Deputy Speaker.

Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu, Sen. Osita Izunaso, Senator Musa Sani, Hon. Muktar Aliyu Betara, Hon. Ado Doguwa, and a whole host of other candidates who were vying for the most powerful positions in the Senate and House of Representatives may have been eliminated from consideration as a result of this decision.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) reached a consensus on the distribution method for the six offices that will be available in each of the two chambers of the National Assembly during a meeting that took place the previous Friday with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who will take over as President.

Even though the North-West was awarded the positions of Speaker and Deputy Senate President, the North-Central region did not receive any consideration for any positions under the sharing formula that was announced.

However, the event sparked a heated debate when a group from the North-Central region stormed the national secretariat of the APC party on Monday to protest being excluded from the leadership of the National Assembly. The group was acting on the platform of the APC Stakeholders Forum.

Barr. Felix Morka, the APC National Publicity Secretary, said that the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) met and ratified that the Senate President should go to the South-South, Sen. Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), and the Deputy Senate President should go to the North-West, Sen. Barau Jubrin (Kano). Morka made this announcement Monday evening as the official position of the party.

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The party has confirmed that the position of Speaker will go to the North-west, Hon. Abass Tajudeen (North-West, Kaduna), and that the position of Deputy Speaker South-east will go to Hon. Ben Kalu (South-east, Abia). This was announced in the House of Representatives.

He stated that, “The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) met today, Monday, May 8, 2023 to consider reports of consultations and meetings held with the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, other party leaders, and stakeholders on zoning arrangement for 10th National Assembly leadership positions.” He added that, “The purpose of today’s meeting was to consider reports.”

“The National Working Committee took note, with respect, of the conclusions reached during the meetings that were held between the president-elect and the leadership of the National Working Committee.

“The NWC called for further and better consultation with necessary stakeholders in order to guarantee the support of the aspirants to the leadership positions in the National Assembly and members of the Party across the country,”

The party issued a call to its leaders, members, and all citizens of Nigeria to maintain their efforts toward the preservation of peace and the advancement of Nigeria’s national interests both during and after the current period of leadership transition.

Sen. Sani Musa (North-Central, Niger-East), one of the contenders in the Senate, stated to journalists earlier, before the announcement of the zoning arrangement, that whatever decision the party takes on zoning will be considered as required inputs into leadership selection, while the ultimate and final decision lies with the federal lawmakers-elect. This statement was made before the announcement of the zoning arrangement.

“As is the case in the majority of democracies, political parties will offer their advice on how the leaders of parliament should be selected, but the actual voting will be done by the elected lawmakers.”When it comes to the election of interested lawmakers for the Presiding officer positions, both Chambers of the National Assembly have lawmakers who were elected on the platform of various political parties, and these lawmakers all have one vote each.

“Party will take its decision as far as zoning is concerned, but the elected lawmakers will know how to cross the bridge when they get there,” he said. “Party will take its decision.”

*Yari group

In the meantime, the Good Governance Initiative (GGi), an organization that is dedicated to the election of Senator-elect Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari as the next President of the Senate, has criticized a group of Non-Serving Senators of the Second to the Fourth Republics for calling on Senate presidential aspirants to withdraw from the race for Senator Godswill Akpabio. The group’s statement was made.

The pro-Yari group said that the call by the former lawmakers amounts to a double standard because many members of the hitherto unknown group had previously championed the independence of the legislature when it served their interests.
A total of seventy-two former federal lawmakers, operating under the auspices of Non-Serving Senators of the Second to the Fourth Republics and being led by Senator Basheer Lado, had previously on Monday voiced their support for Akpabio and Barau’s candidacies.
In response to the endorsements, however, the National President of GGi, Kunle Sanusi, issued a statement in Abuja in which he stated that a call of this nature was anti-democratic and had no place in a constitutional democracy.

“At one time or another in the history of this country, each of these individuals served in a legislative capacity of the highest rank.

“They ought to have an understanding of the fundamental rights of individuals as enshrined in the constitution. They ought to comprehend constitutional democracies like the one we have.

“Many of those on the list were once staunch advocates for the autonomy of the parliamentary body. So, what exactly is different now?

“A double standard on their part, for the sake of their own egotistical gains, is the best answer to the question,”Nevertheless, Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari will exercise his rights in a manner that is consistent with the Senate Standing Rule and the Constitution of 1999, in its amended form.
On the one hand, the fact that the former Senators no longer have voting rights on the Senate floor means that “he can’t be intimidated by this kind of gang-up.”On the other hand, Senator Godswill Akpabio was a member of the PDP Senators who voted for a Senate President in 2015 so that the legislature could maintain its autonomy.

“Now that he has changed, he wants to be handpicked rather than emerging through a democratic exercise,” she said.

“That tells you the kind of Senate President they want to install on the 10th National Assembly,” Sanusi said. “It’s very clear.”

*A kick in the Caucus South-East.

Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah, the spokesman for the South-East Caucus of Senators-elect, stated while appearing on Politics Today, a programme broadcast on Channels Television in Abuja, that the group was dissatisfied and brought up a position that the decision made by the ruling party had marginalized the zone. Ubah made his remarks while participating in an interview for the program.

The member of the National Assembly who represents the area of Anambra-South argued that if the South-East were to produce the next leader of the upper legislative body, it would contribute to the consolidation of national cohesion and be beneficial to the nation as a whole.
He stated that “for me and our people from the South-East, we are still very strong in contesting for the office of Senate President of Nigeria for the 10th Senate.” He was referring to the upcoming election. For the time being, that is where we stand.

Not only in the provision of infrastructure, but also in the allotment of offices that would assist people from the area make the wishes of their people known at the upper echelons of government, he wondered how regime after regime would support the marginalization of the zone. He questioned the rationale behind this.

Ubah remarked that he has, more than any other Senator, presented bills that are currently bringing billions of Naira to the coffers of the Federal government, and he questioned why there is such irrational fear or hatred directed toward the zone.

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He maintained that Senator Akpabio made things worse by excluding the South-East from his consultations, and he pointed out that although the APC as a political party has stated what they want, the Senators, including those Senators who are from the South-East, will consult and make a decision.

*Protest by a group from the Central North

The North-central group, led by Alhaji Salihu Ibrahim, said it is unfair to exclude the zone from the equation of things in regard to the leadership of the National Assembly while they were demonstrating in front of the national secretariat of A0C. This statement was made during the protest.
Ibrahim said, “We are all here to call the attention of the National Chairman of the APC and to congratulate the President-elect, and to tell him that we, the North-Central have contributed a lot to his success and we want to still tell him that we are being marginalized as regards the sharing formulas of offices of the 10th National Assembly.”

“It is outrageous that the party has not given any consideration to the North-Central region. We, the people of the North-Central region, have made significant contributions to the growth of the APC, and to this day, we are still a part of it. However, we have not been satisfied since the beginning of the APC’s existence.

“It is outrageous that the party has not given any consideration to the North-Central region. We, the people of the North-Central region, have made significant contributions to the growth of the APC, and to this day, we are still a part of it. However, we have not been satisfied since the beginning of the APC’s existence.

“The North-Central region should be given serious consideration and compensated appropriately. Our region ought to receive recognition and gratitude from the APC’s national level.

“If Abdullahi Adamu, under his watch, can allow this to happen to us, then yes, we respect his leadership and his stability in the party; however, the North-Central is not being compensated for the stability.

If they are unable to give us the position of Senate President, our demand is that the 10th Speakership of the Assembly be zoned to the North-Central region.


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