10th NASS: Reject interference in election of presiding officers – Group urges senators-elect

A leading civil society organisation, the Parliamentary Advocacy Network, PAN, has called on lawmakers to reject zoning as announced by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

The group said it was an executive selection and not an election, which was glaringly not in consonance with the tenets of democracy.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Thursday after a two-month engagement with political stakeholders, leaders of PAN Nigeria warned that repeating the mistake of 2019, when the positions of presiding officers of the 9th National Assembly were micro-zoned, would birth another rubber stamp assembly.

They condemned attempts by the executive to foist its choice of presiding officers on the 10th National Assembly, stressing that it’s a matter of right for lawmakers-elect to choose their preferences voluntarily.

The national coordinator of PAN Nigeria, Prince Anderson Osiebe, said certain criteria should be considered by lawmakers-elect in picking the next leaders of the two chambers of the National Assembly.

PAN insisted that the legislative branch is a different and independent arm of government recognised as such by the country’s constitution.

Osiebe said: “There are attempts by the executive or their proxies at the federal level and the states to inelegantly interfere in their affairs or make an attempt to bend or break the rules of such a legislative house or houses in order to accord undue advantage to anyone among their members in the bid to choose a leader or leaders being favoured by the members of the executive or their proxies.”

PAN, noting that democratic practice has taken place for the past 24 years in the country, urged lawmakers-elect not to be intimidated by any threats emanating from any executive quarters or from their proxies.

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