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The Oduwa Frontiers has called on the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee (NWC) to rescind its zoning proposal, saying that the grand plot was targeted against the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to paint him in bad light.
In a statement signed by its leader, Kolawale Adediji Kazeem, the group said there should be an open contest for members to exercise their democratic right in choosing the leadership 10th NASS by allowing interested candidates irrespective of region or geopolitical zone to have their fate determined by the members of the National Assembly who should be the ones to choose their leaders.
However, the APC had in a recent statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, said the zoning arrangement followed a meeting by the NWC to consider reports of consultations and meetings held with the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and other stakeholders on the zoning arrangement.
The arrangement produced Senator Godswill Akpabio (South-South, Akwa Ibom) as Senate President; and Senator Barau Jubrin (North West, Kano) as Deputy Senate President.
The position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives was zoned to Hon. Abass Tajudeen (North West, Kaduna) and Deputy Speaker to Hon. Ben Kalu (South East, Abia).
But the Oduwa Frontiers observed that the move by the NWC of APC to zone the National Assembly leadership positions is a “calculated design to give the incoming administration of Asiwaju administration a bad name even before it takes off, is without a doubt, part of the disturbances that have been created since the emergence of a South Western presidency.”
In particular, the group added, “the despotic move to zone the National Assembly leadership positions to suit certain vested interests with false love for the President-elect only aims to set a dangerous foundation of distrust and suspicion as traps to undermine the coming administration.
“Everyone knows the democratic antecedents of the Asiwaju and his unbending commitment to democratic principles of fair-play and the right of choice.
“Instances abound where Asiwaju insisted on democratic participatory processes even at the expense of his own personal interest.
“In the buildup to the formation of the eighth Assembly in 2015, Asiwaju jettisoned his personal political interest and insisted on a democratic process involving election by the duly elected members.
“And just recently, even though well deserved, the Asiwaju turned down every opportunity to be annointed as sole candidate of the All Progressives Congress,
APC, for the presidential election and instead, insisted on democratic primaries.
“It would therefore be misplaced to believe that a man with such high commitment to democratic processes would be involved in such unconstitutional
“We therefore join the Southern Governors Forum and other concerned Nigerians in calling on the National Working Committee of the APC to follow the path of honour and justice by reversing the unsolicited, unpopular zoning proposal and allow democracy and its tenets to thrive.
“We also call on the President-elect to interrogate this skewed arrangement and give direction that reflects our collective commitment to equality, fairness, and
inclusivity as basis for participatory democracy.
“As stakeholders in the affairs of the South-west and Nigeria generally, we hereby corroborate the Chairman of the Southern Governors Forum’s views and adopt all the issues raised which are very sensitive, not only to the president-elect and the APC, but also to the corporate existence of the country.
“We warn the President-elect not to wave aside the views of the Southern Governors Forum and majority of his genuine lovers in other regions, in order to avoid falling into the traps laid to set him up against other sections of the country and damage the image of his administration even before it takes off.
“We hereby state our strong position that the manner in which the party leadership directly meddled in the affairs of the legislative arm of government, which is an independent body, amounts to an infringement on the constitutionally guaranteed legislative independence and autonomy.
“We warn that the APC cannot afford to make the mistake of allowing the repeat of what transpired in the eighth Assembly when Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara emerged Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives”, the Oduwa Frontiers stated.
The group on a final note, called on the APC “to replay its exemplary leadership of allowing open contest and level ground for the party primaries that paved way for the emergence of the Asiwaju as its Presidential Candidate.
“It is therefore expedient for the APC to allow open contest for all interested candidates irrespective of region or geopolitical zone and allow the members of the National Assembly to vote for their leaders”, Oduwa Frontiers counselled.