Suleiman Anyalewechi, Aba
As the race for the leadership of National Assembly hots up ahead of June 13, 2023 inauguration, strong indications have emerged that the North may have resolved to shun the All Progressives Congress, APC, and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu preferred candidates.
NewsCritic online reports that the National Working Committee, NWC, of the ruling party in cohorts with the President had zoned the senate president position to the South-South region, with Senator Godswill Akpabio a former Governor of Akwa Ibom state as preferred candidate, just as other principal offices have been reserved for other parts of the remaining five geopolitical zones of the country.
But findings by NewsCritic online on Wednesday 8th June, 2023 have revealed that many of the northern region power brokers are not ready to be on the same page with the APC and the presidency, preferring instead a leadership that will protect the interests of the region.
Informed sources told this newspaper that the Northern region appears not to be comfortable with the choice of Sen Akpabio as the senate president mainly because of his preference by the presidency.
To this end, the region’s political actors and leaders are said to have resolved to shop for a candidate who can strike the needed balance between the North and South controlled presidency irrespective of party affiliations.
The sources further revealed that it has almost become an unwritten rule for the North to aspire for an independent National Assembly anytime power shifts to the Southern region.
This is said to be informed by the need to provide an effective check on the presidency by the North. Although, Senator Abdullaziz Yari, a former governor of Zamfara State may appear to some keen watchers as top contender for the senate presidency job, an impeccable source has revealed that he is being used as a rallying point for the region’s preferred candidate and will definitely “render” the same services which Aminu Tambuwal, immediate past Sokoto state Gov delivered to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar during the last Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential primaries.
“The fact is that the North is always desirous of an independent National Assembly any time power shifts to the South. The reason is simply to checkmate an “overzealous” president with a view to protecting the interests of the region. The North is always apprehensive of the ever-looming twin issues of Resource Control and Restructuring, as well as their implications on the interests of the region.
Against this background, Northern power brokers consider National Assembly leadership from the prism of their interests, not from the stand point of party loyalty. Anybody that enjoys the support of the presidency will definitely not appeal to them, unless the person was sold to the presidency by them.
The bottom line of the situation on the ground is that, yes, the senate president will come from the South actually, but the big snag will be that it most probably not going the way preferred by the presidency.
Some options are on the table and we are working in conjunction with other forces that strongly believe in equity, justice as well as the oneness of the country. Our final choices will be made based on the need for the promotion of fairness and justice in the system. If it becomes necessary to go for some people from even the minority parties, we will do so. The issue at stake now transcends party loyalty and or affiliations” a source revealed.