Media reports of the purported adoption of Senator Ahmed Lawan from North East as the consensus candidate weeks after the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had zoned the Senate Presidency to the North Central, are worrisome. Whereas the zoning was comprehensively applauded by every progressive-minded Nigerian from the North, for very obvious reasons, there have been discordant vibes about the zoning arrangement. Recent media reports reveal that a top-gun from the South West has rail-roaded the Party into moving the number three position to the North East from the North Central.
This development, if true, is not only dangerous to the new-found unity and cohesion in the North, but will be injurious and suicidal to the image of APC and portend serious challenge to the Party’s acceptance as a truly national association. Really, if the Party is working assiduously in building national consensus and promoting inclusiveness, immediate steps must be taken to jettison zoning the Senate Presidency to the North East. The leadership of APC must avoid sending negative signals to Nigerians whence the Executive and Legislative, two critical arms of government, are superintendent by the core North [North West and North East]. This will no doubt, reinforce the thinking of some Nigerians that APC is an AREWA party.
One expects that leaders of APC, who are from the North, should rise above parochial interest and narrow cleavages by ensuring that the North Central gets the Senate Presidency.
Indeed, if this is done, a new chapter of political relationship between the core North and people of North Central would have been opened. Age-long accusation of marginalisation would be addressed and put to rest. Serial perception of use-and-dump by the core North would be obliterated and consigned to the refuse bin of Northern political history.
Aside these very cogent and moral issues, going by the 2015 general elections, the North Central performed excellently. The zone, not only delivered overwhelming votes to the APC, as a Minority North with the highest convergence of ethnic nationalities, zoning the Senate Presidency out of the zone will be tantamount to deepening alienation of the North Central.
That the APC swept National Assembly, governorship and state assembly elections in Niger, Benue and Plateau states [hitherto PDP stronghold] in the North Central, whereas APC won in only Adamawa and Bauchi states [in the North East], aptly confirms the need to zone the number three seat to North Central. Also, the leadership of APC should be reminded that as a result of the unquantifiable passion and unalloyed commitment of the leaders and people of North Central to the CHANGE mantra of their Party, massive victories were recorded in Kogi, Kwara and Nasarawa.
Perhaps, APC leaders must be advised on the need to appreciate and compensate the North Central geo-political zone with the Senate Presidency, who in their determined effort to ensure the realisation of the Party’s CHANGE vision and electoral victories, assembled the best and very best in Kwara, Niger, Kogi, Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa states to dislodge the PDP.
As a stakeholder and proponent of true unity, cohesion, mutuality and inclusiveness amongst the entire North, this writer strongly canvass and appeal that the Senate Presidency be domiciled in the North Central geo-political zone. This will have wide-ranging positives not only for the in-coming General Muhammadu Buhari administration, but also impact on the fortunes of APC in future elections.
Senator Lawan who is from the North East cannot be adopted as the consensus candidate of the APC after the National Working Committee, NWC of the party zoned the Senate Presidency to the North Central and the latest development where 35 Senators-elect rejected the adoption of Lawan. The business of electing the President of the Senate is vested in the hands of the lawmakers. The senators -elect must be allowed to choose their leaders in a transparent manner and without interference.
The Senate Presidency should not be personalised. The Senate President must be competent; must possess leadership skills and ability to stabilise and also guarantee an independent legislative arm working with the executive and judicial arms of government for the good of Nigeria.
Mr. Kofo Adegoke , coordinator, North Central professionals for Good Governance, NCPGG, wrote from Abuja.