AS the permutations and horse-trading for the position of Senate President gather steam, internal disagreement over the zoning of the key National Assembly positions could become a test for the All Progressives Congress (APC) – just as it was in 2015 – if decisive action is not taken immediately to restore equity and balance in power-sharing arrangement in the country.
The APC leadership and indeed, the Presidency should have sufficiently learnt from the errors of baffling indecision that left the door wide open for a Senator Bukola Saraki and his mostly Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) allies in the Senate to actualise a daring bid for Senate leadership which has survived till date, with implications for the Buhari Presidency.
However, there is no certainty that the ruling party which has now secured majority in the both houses of the National Assembly has really learnt any lesson from its experience in the last four years. Assertions that the outgoing leader of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila would be a shoo-in for the speaker of the 9th House were derailed yesterday after the first major challenger to his aspiration surfaced. Keep in mind that Femi Gbajabiamila is Tinubu’s loyalist.
Rep. Yusuf Buba Yakub who unfolded his leadership challenge yesterday said that his sole mission in the contest was to foster peace between the three arms of government for speedy democratic growth. With the All Progressives Congress, APC still dillydallying on the zoning formula, the prescription for bedlam was yesterday being predicted with Yakub’s challenge. That was especially given the fact that the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP with about 111 members in the next House has more than enough members to influence decision.
The APC is estimated to have about 211 representatives in the next house. 181 members are needed to elect a new speaker. Speaking to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, Yakubu who represents from Gombi/Hong federal constituency of Adamawa State said that he’s qualified just like any other two term member to vie for the speakership of the House.
He said: “The only qualification to vie for post of speaker according to the rules of the House is to be a ranking member and I am a ranking member because I am returning for the second time to the House. And before you even qualify to become a member of the House of Representatives, you must have fulfilled every qualification as a Nigerian as stipulated in the constitution. So, I have fulfilled those qualifications, so I am qualified.
“One key reason why I want to vie for speakership is to create harmony between all arms of government which is very key because our major enemy today in Nigeria with the present situation we found ourselves is time.” Yakub said that it will be in the interest of the country and his political party, the All Progressives Congress, APC to allow the status quo to remain as it concerns power structures and rotations.
“The northeast has a better chance of producing the speaker because the status quo presently is that the Speaker is from the northeast, the senate president is from the north central and the president is from the northwest and the vice president is from the south west. So, the north east has a better chance and you can see from the elections that just took place that the northwest where the President comes from has the highest votes, followed by the northeast which came second.”
With this latest stance on the Senate presidency, Buhari is caught in the crossroads of picking a new leader from the brimming list of qualified candidates. Who do you think he should pick? Please leave your thoughts and comments below.