The National Vice Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the North-west, Mallam Salihu Moh Lukman, has asked elected Senators aspiring for the office of Senate President in the yet to be inaugurated 10th Assembly to step down for a Christian from the South-south.
The North-west APC chairman also appealed to the APC National Chairman, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu to consider wider consultative process in managing affairs of the party, especially in the zoning of National Assembly leadership and the cabinet of the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
In a statement released to newsmen, Tuesday in Abuja, Lukman said the APC NWC led by Sen. Abdullahi Adamu need to become more aggressive in driving the process of negotiating leadership of the 10th National Assembly.
While cautioning against laidback attitude of the National Working Committee of the party, Lukman said dousing ethnic and religious tension in the country will require sacrifices on the part of all both as leaders and members of APC.
He said: “For instance, I have people from North-West declaring to contest for the position of Senate President without the courtesy of consulting any of us from North-West in NWC. As much as I respect every elected National Assembly member from North-West, I will appeal to those aspiring for the position of Senate President to step down their aspiration in the overall interest of national cohesion and to ensure that in line with our commitment as leaders of the North-West to support the administration of Asiwaju Tinubu to assume office in May 29, 2023 with a good support base from Nigerians across every section and irrespective of ethnic and religious divide.
“This public appeal has become necessary given the flood of aspirants for leadership of the 10th National Assembly, which if left to continue unregulated could throw up unexpected people in the leadership of the 10th National Assembly. Should that be allowed to happen may result in producing the undesirable consequences of destroying the electoral viability of APC in future elections. As a ruling party, mandated to provide political leadership to the country for the next four years, everything must be done to sustain the confidence of Nigerians.
“As a concerned party member and leader, I make this appeal conscious of where we are coming from. We have proven to Nigerians that nothing is impossible in Nigerian politics. We have successfully consummated the first and only merger of opposition parties in the political history of the country. We are the first party to successfully defeat a ruling party. It is therefore not impossible to be the party that can facilitate the emergence of Nigeria as a strongly united country. For that to happen, we need to douse the current ethnic and religious tension in the country.
“Without going into the details of the sacrifices required, we certainly would need to invoke the powers of superior organs of the party where all proposals could be tabled, debated and decisions taken, which should be binding on everyone, including elected representatives in the National Assembly. Perhaps, we need to acknowledge that the critical issue before us as a party today is decision about zoning formula for offices in the National Assembly and in the Asiwaju Tinubu-led government.”
The APC chieftain who made reference to the party’s experience during Senator Bukola Saraki’s led National Assembly, warned that if nothing is done to regulate individual ambition of some lawmakers another Muslim Senator may emerge the next Senate President and even Speaker.
“Partly, because of the ineffectiveness of the party’s National Secretariat, no proposal is on the table for consideration of any organ of the party. Instead, we have many fake proposals circulating with hardly any attempt to initiate alternative proposals for debate within the constitutional structures of APC.
“So far, we only have individual aspirations for leadership positions in the 10th National Assembly. Most of the aspirations hardly recognise the challenges of national cohesion.
“Unfortunately, most of those aspiring for positions of leadership in the 10th National Assembly appear to be disrespectful to structures of the party and their membership, including the NWC. Hardly do they show any interest to consult the NWC as an organ or its members individually. Somehow, there is also the demeaning perception that aspiring leaders could always acquire (however defined) the support of party organs. This must be remedied.”