By Henry Umoru, ABUJA
AHEAD of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, on June 13th, Stakeholders from the North Central under the aegis of the North Central People’s Forum, NCPF has told President Bola Tinubu that as a zone, they are not satisfied with the position of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF.
The North Central forum said that while they are grateful for the appointment of former State Governor, Senator George Akume as the SGF was not enough to appease them, saying that someone from the zone should be the next Deputy Senate President and an indigene of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT should get a ministerial slot of any portfolio, but preferably the FCT minister.
According to NCPF, with the quantum of votes given to Tinubu in the February 25th Presidential election, the zone should be given the office of the deputy Senate President and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In a statement yesterday by the National Publicity Secretary of the forum, Hon Audu Sule,
NCPF said that the people of the North Central, including Abuja, Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Niger, Nasarawa and Kwara States, know very well that one of them should be appointed the FCT minister.
Recall that the All Progressives Congress, APC had announced the endorsement of Senator Godswill Akpabio and three others for the topmost positions in the National Assembly. Senator Akpabio from South-South was endorsed for Senate President, Senator Jubrin Barau from the North-west for Deputy Senate President, Honourable Tajudeen Abass, North-west for Speaker, House of Representatives and Hon. Kanu, South-East for Deputy Speaker.
This has not gone down well with some members of the party and especially those aspiring for the position of Presiding offices in both the Senate and the House of Representatives as have been protests, condemnations and strong criticisms across the country.
The APC’s zoning was highly criticized as to why a party would allow two of the six presiding offices in the National Assembly to a zone and leave the North Central without any position, even as many others criticized the zoning of Deputy Speaker to the South-East instead of Presidency of the Senate generally believed to be due to the zone.
Recall that President Tinubu had last week appointed Senator Akume, as the SGF apparently as a move to placate the North-central zone and influence the tussle for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly.
The coming on board of Akume may be Tinubu’s move to appease the zone, which was overlooked in the choice of candidates endorsed by the APC to fill the top four presiding officers’ positions in the National Assembly, but the North Central zone is saying no as the position of SGF cannot be a substitute for the office of Deputy Senate President, a Presiding office in the Senate.
According to the group, the Chairman of, the Senate Services Committee, Senator Sani Musa, APC, Niger East is in the race to be deputy Senate President and has the backing of Senators-elect from the region. While the current Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, is in the race for Speaker and has remained steadfast in his determination to run for the number four seat.
NCPF said that the appointment of Akume as SGF may have been done to pave the way for Hon Abbas from the North West to become Speaker.
Audu Sule said, “First of all we thank Mr President for appointing one of our sons, father and brother as the SGF. We want to particularly congratulate Sen George Akume for the appointment because he is eminently qualified.
“But that is not enough to pacify us. If you look at the vote the APC pulled in North Central it was massive. We were able to lead in all the states except for Plateau and FCT which went to the Labour Party.
“We want the office of the deputy Senate president to go to the North Central. That is the office we have not occupied. In the past, military governments appointed ministers of FCT from the North Central. That’s what we want from the present administration.
“Also, if you check in the previous government, the North East had a Senate President and the SGF. So, we want the office of the deputy Senate president. It will be good for the north central to get it because out of the seven states, we give five to the APC.
“We are also calling for the North Central state to be considered for the office of the FCT minister because the people understand the area very well. Also, the FCT should be given a ministerial appointment.”