The All Progressives Congress (APC) stakeholders forum yesterday decried the exclusion of the north central geo-political zone from the sharing arrangement of the principal officers of the National Assembly.
The forum national coordinator, Rev Dominic Alancha at a press conference in Abuja stressed the need by the leadership of the party to address the issue before the inauguration of the National Assembly next week.
The group contended that the north central geo-political zone cannot be swayed by the decision by President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to appoint the former Governor of Benue state, Sen George Akume to drop the clamour for equitable treatment in the distribution of the principal office positions of the National Assembly.
The forum applauded the decision by the G6 group of aggrieved Speakership aspirants who have come together under one umbrella to resist the attempt at the imposition of what it termed ” an unpopular candidate” as the next speaker of the House of Representatives.
They urged Senator Sani Musa who is among the aspirants for the Senate President to remain strong in the race to defend the interest of the North Central Region.
Justifying the position, the group noted: “Zoning the position of Senate President in the 10th Assembly to the South-south geopolitical zone, and the position of Deputy Senate President to the North-west zone; while the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives is also zoned to the North-west and the position of Deputy Speaker to the Southeast is unacceptable because it excludes the North Central from parliamentary leadership.
“We note the observation that the national chairman of our great party is from the North Central zone and with the appointment of Senator George Akume as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, that the North Central has been compensated.
“But we say no to these assertions as they do not respect the principle of separation of power in a democracy.
“While the executive arm can decide what is best suited for it in allocating offices within it, the parliament in Nigeria operates on a principle that complements the two topmost positions in the executive arm such that the four principal offices of Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Deputy Speaker are shared among the four other zones outside where the president and vice president come from.
“Rather than weaken the chances of the North Central zone therefore, the occupation of the offices of APC national chairman and SGF by persons from the North Central zone emphasize the need for it to have a corresponding structure at the National Assembly to harness the gains of the two offices in the executive arm of government.
“This is because it was due to the zoning of the position of national chairman to the North Central that galvanized the zone for the APC during the presidential elections and it was because the zone delivered tremendously for the APC especially in Benue that Senator Akume, who acted as a catalyst for the party’s growth, was rewarded with the SGF position.
“Similarly, the zone can boast of returning a higher percentage of legislators to the APC more than any zone apart from the South West.
“Those who made this possible leading to the current position where the APC is leading in terms of a higher of legislators than any single party in both the Senate and House of Representatives have successfully been elected to the National Assembly and are willing to offer their acumen to stabilize the legislature for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to succeed.
“We demand that the four principal positions in the National Assembly are shared among the zones other than the zones the president and vice president hail from.
“The Deputy Senate President and Speaker cannot be zoned to the North West when the North Central has not been given anything. The North Central cannot be totally excluded from the zoning arrangement.”