Indication has emerged that the North Central geopolitical zone would not drop its demand for the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives of the 10th National Assembly in spite of the emergence of Senator George Akume as Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Chieftains of the ruling party from the region on Monday insisted that the All Progressives Congress National Working Committee must review its zoning arrangement for positions of Presiding Officers of National Assembly barely two weeks to the inauguration of the Parliament.
While addressing newsmen on Monday in Abuja, Reverend Dominic Alancha, Convener, Concerned APC Stakeholders, North Central zone, said announcement of Senator Akume as SGF should not be perceived as compensation for the zone.
He said President Bola Tinubu only rewarded the former Benue State governor and immediate past Minister of Special Duties with the SGF office for his contribution to the party and victory of APC in Benue.
He insisted that the APC must review its zoning template which he maintained was skewed against the North Central while the North West will produce Deputy Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives.
He said: “Zoning the position of Senate President in the 10th Assembly to the South-south geopolitical zone, and the position of Deputy Senate President to the North-west zone, while the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives is also zoned to the North-west and the position of Deputy Speaker to the Southeast is unacceptable because it excludes the North Central from parliamentary leadership.
“We note the observation that the national chairman of our great party is from the North Central zone and with the appointment of Senator George Akume as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, that the North Central has been compensated.
“But we say no to these assertions as they do not respect the principle of separation of power in a democracy.
“While the executive arm can decide what is best suited for it in allocating offices within it, the parliament in Nigeria operates on a principle that complements the two topmost positions in the executive arm such that the four principal offices of Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker of the House of and the Deputy Speaker are shared among the four other zones outside where the president and vice president come from.
“Rather than weaken the chances of the North Central zone therefore, the occupation of the offices of APC national chairman and SGF by persons from the North Central zone emphasize the need for it to have a corresponding structure at the National Assembly to harness the gains of the two offices in the executive arm of government.
“This is because it was due to the zoning of the position of national chairman to the North Central that galvanised the zone for the APC during the presidential elections and it was because the zone delivered tremendously for the APC especially in Benue that Senator Akume, who acted as a catalyst for the party’s growth, was rewarded with the SGF position.
“Similarly, the zone can boast returning a higher percentage of legislators to the APC more than any zone apart from the South West.
“Those who made this possible leading to the current position where the APC is leading in terms of a higher of legislators than any single party in both the Senate and House of Representatives have successfully been elected to the National Assembly and are willing to offer their acumen to stabilize the legislature for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to succeed.
“We demand that the four principal positions in the National Assembly are shared among the zones other than the zones the president and vice president hail from.
“The Deputy Senate President and Speaker cannot be zoned to the North West when the North Central has not been given anything.
“The North Central cannot be totally excluded from the zoning arrangement.
“On this note, we salute the cooperation and unity of the six aspirants who have come together under one umbrella to resist the attempt at the imposition of an unpopular candidate as the next speaker of the House of Representatives. While we urge Senator Sani Musa to remain strong in the race to defend the interest of the North Central Region.
“As the G6 is consulting and deliberating on who to rally round and support for the speaker position among themselves, we call on them to consider North Central for Equity, Justice and Fairness.
“Nigerians have commended their spirit of team work and selflessness so we urge them to remain firm and resolute to preserve the independence of the Legislature and institution of the National Assembly.”