Ahead of next week’s inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, a group, Coalition for Parliamentary Democracy (CPD) has advised Senator Godswill Akpabio to stop using the zoning template of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a basis for his aspiration.
The pro-democracy group made the declaration on Wednesday in Abuja while speaking with journalists.
The national secretariat of the APC had last month unveiled its zoning arrangement and equally announced Senators Godswill Akpabio and Barau Jibrin as favoured candidates for the office of Senate President.
His rivals in the race have continued to kick against the zoning template and demanded for a review.
Other contenders for the office of Senate President are former Zamfara State Governor and Senator-elect for Zamfara West, Abdul Aziz Yari; Senator representing Niger East, Sani Musa; Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu and Senator-elect for Imo West, Osita Izunaso.
National Coordinator of the CPD, Dr Menike Johnson, maintained that aspirants should tell their colleagues what they have to offer and showcase their legislative agenda rather than play up the zoning narrative.
He declared that zoning and external endorsements “are undemocratic and only promotes mediocrity, incompetence and breeds a corrupt and rubber stamp parliamentary leadership that cannot serve the interest of the Nigerians.”
The group also cautioned the APC national leadership and the Presidency to refrain from the imposition of leadership for the National Assembly as he noted that it will only worsen the division in the party and deny it the ability to maintain a healthy relationship with its lawmakers.
He said “The Coalition for Parliamentary Democracy has been watching the contest for the Senate Presidency with keen interest. We have also noted the trajectory, demonstrated capacity, and acceptability of the two major contestants in the race; Senator Abdulaziz Yari and Senator Godswill Akpabio.
“CPD in tandem with other pro-democracy organizations insists that those interested in the office of the Senate President should rather marshal their agenda to Nigerians and senators-elect and not rely on retrogressive and sectional arguments of zoning and external endorsements which is undemocratic, promotes mediocrity, incompetence and breeds a corrupt and rubber stamp parliamentary leadership that cannot serve the interest of the people.
“Imposition could make it lose the position to the opposition parties which have a good number of senators-elect that could be boosted by dissatisfied element in the APC to clinch the Senate leadership.
“Such could lead to more division in the APC and create a frosty legislature/executive relationship which is not in the interest of the nation at this critical time of our national history.
“The Senate does not belong to a particular political Party but to Nigerians. In the same vein, Senate Leadership positions are serious positions that require capacity and willpower and not retail commodities that will be allocated to mediocrity and incompetence on the platter of zoning.
“The CPD, therefore, urges the Senators-elect to assert the independence of the legislature and the principle of the separation of power in serving the interest of Nigerians by upholding competence and not zoning in the election of a new senate president.
“Finally, the CPD counsels Senator Akpabio to step down for Senator Yari if he had nothing to offer except zoning as credentials for the very demanding office of the senate president.”
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