Former senators on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, on Thursday, appeal to Senate Presidency aspirants to respect party supremacy by abiding by the APC zoning formula for the 10th National Assembly leadership.
The ex-senators made the call on Thursday under the aegis of the ‘APC Non-Serving Senators Group from Second to Fourth Republics.’
The call was made in Abuja at an enlarged meeting convened by Senator Basheer Lado.
The meeting was attended by party stalwarts such as former Ogun State governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba, elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, Ambassador Godknows Igali and Archbishop John Praise, among others.
The coalition specifically called on Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and ex-governor Abdul’Aziz Yari, to drop their ambition out of respect for the party, saying the APC could not afford another crisis.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the National Working Committee of the APC had zoned the Senate presidency to the South-South picked Senator Godswill Akpabiofor the position while Senator Barau Jibrin, was chosen as Deputy Senate President.
At the Thursday meeting of the ex-senators, Lado urged all aspirants to abide by the APC decision.
He said, “We are convinced that there is a need now more than ever to support the party and strengthen its decision in this regard.
“We are convinced that a strong party capable of whipping its members into line stand a better chance to exercise oversight on its members in the executive and legislative branches of government and ensuring thereby that the party manifesto and governance philosophy are religiously observed and executed.”
Osoba, in his comments, urged the group to lobby other aspirants to ensure that the party’s zoning arrangement stands.
Osoba said, “I want to appeal to you on two issues. Let us all organise a serious lobby system by convening a meeting of all aspirants for the position of Senate President in 10th Senate to make them see reason they should toe the line of the party.
“The party has decided on zoning and has zoned the positions. We cannot afford to start this government on another crisis. The fuel subsidy removal crisis is already there.
“Let us go back to our states and lobby our senators-elect to support the choice of the party. With this, I believe we shall achieve our goal without any hitch.”
On his part, Yakasai said he had no doubts that Akpabio was qualified for Senate presidency because of his pedigree as “a one-time governor of his state, a one-time minister and presently a senator-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Also, a former Senate President, Ameh Ebute, said, “The party is supreme. No member should oppose the constitution of the party and position of its leadership. We should abide by the constitution of the party and the zoning of National Assembly leadership positions by the party.”
Igali, on his part, said the South-South was grateful to the APC for zoning the position of Senate President to the region.
“Let us move to lobby our colleagues to support the choice of the party for Senate President to enable our new government to hit the ground running.”
Meanwhile, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, on Thursday, backed former governor of Abia State, Senate Orji Kalu, to become the Senate President.
Kalu had announced that he would not step down for anyone.
He added that he was forming an alliance with former governor AbdulAziz Yari to achieve his ambition.
Addressing journalists in Kaduna on Thursday, the leader of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, said Kalu should be Senate President being from the South-East and a Christian.
According to him, his emergence will strengthen Nigeria’s unity. He urged Yari to step down for Kalu.
“We know that Yari has an upper hand in the partnership since he has about 42 senators while Kalu has about 27 senators making the partnership to have 69 senators in their fold.
“But we are appealing to Yari to consider the future of the country in this critical time and accept the Deputy Senate President position.
“There is actually no difference between the Senate President and Deputy Senate President since the two are presiding officers.
“We only think that for religious balancing and for peace and unity of the country, the South-East deserves to produce the Senate President.”