ALL Progressives Congress (APC) leaders have been warned by the youth section of the party to zone out all the National Assembly leadership positions currently up for grabs to avoid alienating large sections of Nigerians in the future.
On May 29, the new National Assembly will be inaugurated and its first task will be to elect principal officers, mainly senate president and deputy and the speaker of the House of Representatives and deputy. Several candidates have already signified their interest in running for these positions but the APC leadership has decided to back Senator Ahmad Lawan from Yobe North Senatorial District for senate president and Hon Femi Gbajabiamila from Surulere 1 Federal Constituency for speaker.
However, the decisions are not popular with all APC members of the National Assembly with many of them opposing the idea of their leaders being imposed on them. Some legislators said the APC should just have zoned the offices to certain parts of the country and allow lawmakers within those zones to solicit for votes from their colleagues.
In the case of Hon Gbajabiamila, there is already consternation that he is from the southwest geo-political zone where vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo hails from, so the position should go to a different part of the country. Senator Lawan, he is facing stiff opposition from several other senators from his northwest geo-political zone including Senators Ali Ndume and Danjuma Goje.
Yesterday, the APC zonal and state Youth Leaders Forum met and called for the convening of the party’s national executive committee to discuss the matter as the selection of Senator Lawan and Hon Gbajabiamila by fiat could lead to chaos. They expressed concern over the fate of APC after the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari, especially in the light of the high-handedness and perception of a lack of internal democracy within the party.
Following its Abuja meeting, the forum described the decision by the National Working Committee (NWC) to micro-zone the position of senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives as a recipe for chaos. It demanded that all positions in the National Assembly are immediately zoned to accommodate the six geo-political zones for equity and fairness.
Adding that no zone is less important than the other, the youth forum said zonal stakeholders should be allowed to own and determine the process. Read out by the North Central zonal youth leader, Comrade Terver Aginde, on behalf of the forum, the communique signed by the six APC zonal youth leaders, also called for the immediate rescission of the suspension of some party members by the NWC.
It added: “Whilst we agree with the initiative to determine National Assembly leadership within the parameters of zoning and ranking to ensure stability and discipline within the ranks of the party, we must do so without undermining the independence of the legislature. We consider the micro-zoning as a recipe for chaos mindful of the experience of 2015.
“It is anomalous to have made a pronouncement on the position of the senate presidency and speakership of the House of Representatives to the exclusion of other positions and other zones. It is pertinent for members of our great party to note that the purported NWC decision is suspect.
“We are curious to ask for instance how the decision was arrived at, who moved the motion for micro-zoning, who seconded the motion, who voted for micro-zoning and who was against micro-zoning. We dare ask, who is benefiting from this arrangement, an individual or the party?”
It called for a meeting of national executive committee of the party to address all pre and post election issues, imploring President Buhari to pay attention to what it described as dangerous drift of the ship, which if not urgently steered aright may be heading for a precipice. Also, the forum appealed to the president to consult the youth organs of the party with regards to his next cabinet appointments particularly those that affect the youths.