The National Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress North-West, Malam Salihu Lukman, on Monday, advised the party against choosing a Muslim lawmaker as the Senate President in the 10th National Assembly.
Lukman, who gave the advice in a statement titled: “Cash-and-Carry Contest for Leadership of 10th National Assembly,” issued in Abuja, declared that any Muslim vying for the nation’s number three position has no respect for both the APC and the country’s constitutions.
He warned that the selection of a Muslim as the Senate President would heat up the polity following the emergence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the country’s new president and Kashim Shettima, as his deputy.
He urged the party to zone the position to either the South-South or South-East and charged leaders in the North-West to persuade the former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari and the Chairman of Senate Committee on Appropriation, Jibrin Barau, to step down from the Senate Presidency’s race.
The former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, the senator-elect representing Imo West, Osita Izunaso and the governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, have all declared interest in the position.
The statement read: “It is therefore very compelling that the Senate President should come from either the South-South or South-East. I want to specifically note that two respected Senators-elect from North-West have made public declarations of their aspirations for the position of Senate President. These are His Excellency Abdulaziz Yari and Sen. Barau Jibrin.
“Now that power has shifted to the Southern part of the country, as a region, we equally have the responsibility to regulate the conduct of all our Senators-elect from the North-West, including the two Senators-elect Abdulaziz Yari and Barau Jibrin to withdraw their aspiration for the Senate President.
“All party leaders from North-West must prevail on these leaders to in the overall interest of the unity and peaceful coexistence of the country withdraw their aspirations to contest the position of Senate President for the 10th Senate. At the most, they should aspire for the position of Majority Leader of the Senate in line with the 1999 zoning formula in the Senate.
“Any Muslim aspiring for the position of Senate President has no respect for both the constitutions of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the APC. This is because Chapter II, Section 14(3) of the Nigerian constitution clearly outlined that ‘the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.
“With two Muslims already elected to be sworn in as President and Vice President of the Federal Republic on May 29, any attempt to consider another Muslim as Senate President will promote the dominance of Muslims in the Federal Government and will be injurious to national unity and peaceful co-existence of Nigeria as a sovereign entity, which must not be allowed.
“This has reduced the contest for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly to Cash-and-Carry. To say the least, this is both disappointing and worrisome. How can APC elected representatives descend so low as to be using unethical methods of cash-and-carry to mobilise support for their aspirations?”
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