• Ex-Zamfara gov dares APC, lobbies NNPP, PDP, LP, YPP
From Fred Itua and Okwe Obi, Abuja
All Progressives Congress (APC) non-serving senators from second to fourth republics, yesterday, called on Orji Uzor Kalu, Abdul’Aziz Yari and other aspirants for the position of the resident of the Senate in the 10th National Assembly to respect party supremacy.
The former senators spoke at an enlarged meeting attended by Olusegun Osoba, Tanko Yakasai, Godknows Igali and John Praise, among others.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC had zoned the position to the South South and specifically endorsed Godswill Akpabio as its candidate, with Barau Jibrin as deputy.
Kalu, Yari, Osita Izunaso and others had objected to the action of the APC’s leadership and vowed to contest against Akpabio/Jibrin ticket on inauguration day.
Speaking during the meeting of the APC non-serving senators group and stakeholders in Abuja, the convener, Basheer Lado, called on the aspirants in opposition to the party’s choice not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
He called on them to withdraw their bids in the interest of peace, party cohesion and the smooth take off of Tinubu’s administration.
APC stakeholders, including Osoba and Yakasai, who spoke at the event, called on the group to reach out to senators-elect opposing the position of the party to respect the APC’s constitution and support Akpabio and Jibrin.
Osoba urged the APC non-serving senators to lobby other aspirants to ensure the zoning of the position stands.
Former president of the Senate, Ameh Ebute, called on all APC senators-elect to respect the supremacy of the party as enshrined in its constitution.
After reading a section of the APC’s constitution, which provides that the party is supreme, Ebute said: “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.”
On his part, elder statesman Yakasai said he had no doubts that Akpabio is qualified to hold the position of Senate president because of his pedigree.
Yakasai said: “The time of paucity of qualified Nigerians is over many years ago. This is the reason for my difficulties in the task giving a talk in a gathering like this.
“What made my task somewhat easier is the fact that we know the personality we are all talking about.”
In his comments, Igali said the South South is grateful to the APC for zoning the position of Senate president to the South for the purpose of equity, fairness and justice.
“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,” Igali said.
In his address, Lado said the enlarged meeting became imperative for the forum to reaffirm its support for the party’s position that the president of the Senate and his deputy should come from the southern and northern parts of the country respectively as a measure of balancing and stabilising the polity.
“With Akpabio and Jibrin in charge of the 10th Senate, there is no doubt that, the National Assembly would provide the necessary synergy to President Bola Tinubu’s administration to ensure all Nigerians benefit from good governance and democratic dividends.
“We, therefore, call on all stakeholders to support this patriotic move. In the interest of Nigeria’s national stability, peace, and party cohesion, we equally request, once again, that other aspirants withdraw their candidacies,” he said.
Senator Yari has said Nigeria’s constitution remains supreme in his quest to vie for the position.
Speaking during a visit to the leadership of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), yesterday, in Abuja, he said would continue to speak with relevant stakeholders.
The former Zamfara governor pointed out that some people were using religion to disenfranchise credible candidates.
He wondered why religious critics did not speak up when David Mark and Ike Ekweremadu who were Christians were Senate and deputy Senate presidents respectively.
He said he would visit the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), Young People’s Party (YPP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to solicit their support.
He said: “The constitution is supreme to any other law. Any law that is not in tandem with the constitution is null and void.
“We are very committed to the Nigerian project. We strongly believe the constitution is going to prevail.
“We are going to get to the floor of the House and election will take place. And knowing it is a democratic setting, we need to be having this kind of engagement.
“This is my first place of call. But I will also visit other party; LP, SDP PDP APGA and YPP and ask for the support of their members on this project.
“That is to show to you that 10th Assembly is completely different that we knew that we have seven parties. The vote of every party counts and it is critical to us.
“We are going round to canvas the support of the national working committee or the leadership of the parties so they can talk to their members and they will do the right thing for Nigeria and Nigerians.”
“We are working together. We believe in one Nigeria. We are working together; Orji Musa, Izunaso and myself.
“We are going to continue with this struggle until we get there. It is not over until it is over.
“The most important and encouraging is the president’s speech that he is going to rule Nigeria according to constitution of Nigeria.”