Senate presidency: Dissent in APC, aspirants demand fresh zoning formula.
Aspirants for the senate presidency have rejected the adoption of a former minority senate leader and ex-Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, by the All Progressives Congress for the position of President of the Senate in the 10th National Assembly.
The contestants faulted the party’s position on the National Assembly leadership announced after its National Working Committee meeting last week and demanded fresh zoning of the principal offices.
Also, aggrieved aspirants for the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives on Wednesday stormed the APC headquarters in Abuja, where they demanded a fresh zoning formula.
The NWC had endorsed Akpabio from the South-South geopolitical zone as the President of the 10th Senate while Senator Barau Jibrin from the North-West was picked as his deputy.
Also in the House of Representatives, the APC endorsed Tajudeen Abass from the North-West as the Speaker and Benjamin Kalu from the South-East as deputy.
The decision of the party to allocate two of the four presiding positions in the 10th National Assembly to the North-West and none to the North-Central stirred protests and outrage among the lawmakers and aspirants.
A frontline aspirant for the Senate presidency, Senator Osita Izunaso, said the zoning had created tension and cautioned the party leadership to take steps to douse it by coming up with a zoning arrangement that would guarantee unity and national cohesion.
Speaking at a media parley in Abuja on Wednesday, Izunaso said the outcry and protests that erupted following the announcement of the provocative formula showed that the arrangements were not acceptable to the majority of the newly elected legislators and Nigerians, adding that it should therefore be discarded without any delay.
The Imo senator said he agreed with the position of the NWC on the need for “further and better consultations” by all the necessary stakeholders of the party in reaching a workable zoning formula for the principal offices of the National Assembly.
Izunaso said as the most suitable person for the senate presidency, being the highest-ranking Senator from the South-South and South-East with legislative experience spanning several years.
As the opposition against the APC’s decision gained more traction, a source said the NWC members had realised they made a mistake in their decisions.
SOURCE: PUNCH NEWSPAPER