The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, is making good efforts to ensure that it harmonises the interests of party members in the National Assembly and still make them to respect the decision of the party concerning the candidates for various principal offices in both Chambers.
Recall that the burning issue is throwing up more controversies as some APC members are said to be against the party’s decision on candidates for offices in Senate especially for the position of the Senate President.
According to The Punch, the APC on Wednesday said only the decision on the party’s preferred candidate for the position of the Senate President for the 9th Assembly had been taken. It said the zoning formula for the remaining positions in the Senate and those in the House of Representatives was still being worked out.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Lanre Isa-Onilu, said this at a press conference at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja. He said, “We have decided who will be the next Senate President according to what democratic principles allow and that person is Senator Ahmed Lawan. That has been done and announced, it is left for the party to cross the‘t’s and dot the ‘i’s to get that sorted out.
“My emphasis is on the fact that we are not going to share powers, including what the PDP people call juicy committees and we call strategic committees, with people that Nigerians have rejected. They are exclusive for the APC. We don’t need them to head any committee where they are going to compromise the promises we have made to Nigerians.
“Nigerians cannot give us a mandate and we will go and give part of it to those they have rejected. We cannot betray the people of this country and we will never do it. The zoning arrangement for all the other positions is in the works. Just as the media and Nigerians have been informed about who our preferred candidate for the Senate Presidency is, we will come out to tell you what the zoning formula will be for the remaining positions in the Senate and also in the House of Representatives very shortly.”
The party spokesman said the APC had decided to go beyond zoning to identify candidates who were fit for the positions.”
In reaching the decision, he said there was nationwide consultation among party leaders. Isa-Onilu said the presidential system of government being practised in Nigeria encouraged the “winner to take all.”
This, he said, was the reason why the PDP would not be allowed to produce any leader in the National Assembly. He said, “It is democracy. I have listened to the PDP and in their usual style, they exhibited gross ignorance.
What we practise in Nigeria is called presidential system of government. In this type of government, it is winners take all. Once you win, you take whatever you want. There is no room for power sharing.
“We don’t need it because we don’t need them (the PDP) to run this government. We have enough number to run this government. In any case, when we were campaigning, we never told Nigerians that we were going to share power with any other party. What we told them was that they should entrust power to us. As it is clear that we have made good use of power in the last four years, we are going to make better use of it in the next four years.”
“Nigerians accepted this. It will be a betrayal of that trust to go ahead and start sharing power with a party, particularly the PDP, that has been rejected by Nigerians. They were banking on the experience of the last four years when some traitors within the APC fold sold our birthright to an opposition party. Some people now took that to be the new norm. It is not. In fact, that action was not democratic. It was treachery. “
The party spokesman also said the APC did not envisage any election on the floor of the National Assembly. He said names of the preferred candidates would only be read to them. He added, “We have enough number to elect all our officers. We don’t need a single vote from the PDP. In any case, we don’t actually envisage any election on that day because we are going to present our members that will occupy these positions.
“All our members are very experienced politicians who understand what this means. When we get to the floor, we are going to read out the names. If the PDP so desire, it can bring its candidates up. Since the party does not have the number, it will be an exercise in futility for the PDP to nurse the ambition to share from what Nigerians have taken away from them.
“There are positions for minority parties; the APC will not contest those positions with minority parties. They belong to them.”
Isa-Onilu said Senator Ali Ndume’s position on the party leadership endorsement of Lawan as the Senate president was not wrong, saying the dissenting senator was merely expressing his fundamental right.
He, however, said since he had signed to be a member of the APC, he must be ready to abide by the position of the party.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, has said senators elected on the platform of the PDP, will support Lawan to succeed as Senate President in the 9th National Assembly. He also assured Nigerians that the decision of the APC to pick Lawan as its candidate for the office of the Senate President, would not lead to any crisis.
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