Step down for Akpabio, group urges Senate presidency aspirants

A civil society organisation, Citizens Network for Peace and Development in Nigeria, has called on other aspirants for the Office of the President of the Senate in the coming 10th National Assembly to step down for Godswill Akpabio.

The group urged all those aspiring for leadership positions in the Senate and the House of Representatives to obey the zoning plan of the ruling All Progressives Congress.

On May 8, 2023, the National Working Committee of the APC released the zoning formula for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly, picking Godswill Akpabio (Akwa-Ibom/South-South) President of the Senate; Jibrin Barau (Kano/North-West) for Deputy President of the Senate; Tajudeen Abbas (Kaduna/North-West) for Speaker; and Benjamin Kalu (Abia/South-East) for Deputy Speaker.

Several aspirants for leadership positions in the Senate and the House have, however, kicked against the APC leadership zoning plan, vowing to go ahead and contest against the party’s choice candidates.

The National Secretary of the CNPDN, Francis Wainwei, at a press conference in Abuja on Friday, noted that the exercise was to “call on the Senators -elect and members -elect of the 10th National Assembly to respect the choices of the ruling party, the APC and the President-elect, His Excellency, Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, for the leadership positions of the 10th National Assembly.”

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Wainwei said, “There is a strong patriotic need for the lawmakers-elect to drop their personal interests for the national and collective interest, in order to accelerate the holistic development of the country. They should focus on the sacrifices they can make for the betterment of the country and not what they can gain for themselves at all costs.

“We concede to the fact that the right to choose their leaders is solely theirs but there is the burning national need for synergy and cooperation with the Executive, for a better and robust relationship that will ensure smooth and seamless take-off of the new administration. The independence of the National Assembly is to serve the collective interest of the country and not to be used as a means of promoting selfish interests.”

Wainwei noted that while the APC and Tinubu had endorsed Akpabio, Barau, Abbas and Kalu for the Senate and House leadership, respectively, “some lawmakers -elect are opposing the choice of these leaders and are planning to revolt against the ruling party and the President-elect.”

He said, “It is our strong opinion that the ruling party and the President-elect have made the best choices for the leadership positions of the 10th National Assembly and, therefore, the aggrieved aspirants for the same leadership positions should forget about their plans to revolt against the ruling party and accept the choices of the party in good faith, and work for the collective interest of the party, which is aimed at promoting national cohesion and development.

“This is because we don’t want to experience what happened in 2011 and 2015, where such revolts led to acrimonious relationships between the National Assembly and the Executive, which greatly slowed down the pace of governance and negatively affected the effectiveness of those administrations. Let us not repeat history with the same attitude of selfishness.

“Let the lawmakers-elect shun selfish and parochial interests and align themselves with the choices of the ruling party and the President -elect, to enable the new administration to start on a solid and formidable foundation.”

Wainwei noted that while there are calls for members-elect of the 10th Assembly to elect as their leaders, the candidates endorsed by the APC and the President-elect is also strengthened by the fact that “the zoning arrangement adopted by the ruling party is fair, equitable and promotes national cohesion.”

He added, “We are, therefore, using this medium to further call on all patriotic senators-elect and all other aspirants for the Senate presidency, especially His Excellency, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu; His Excellency, Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari; and Sen. Osita Izunaso to drop their ambitions and support Sen. Akpabio to emerge as the Senate President of the 10th Senate for the betterment of the country.”

According to him, those who are opposed to the choice of Akpabio as Senate president are not saying anything against his capacity or competence “but are rather talking about personal differences and interests that ought not to be germane considerations for making choices for the national interest.”

The group also urged Tinubu to continue to interface with the aggrieved aspirants for the leadership positions of the 10th National Assembly, “with the aim of creating a win-win situation for better cohesion and a more peaceful atmosphere in the 10th National Ass

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