…Says Senate President, speaker, principal offices will be zoned
Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
As the Ninth Assembly resumes in June, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has vowed to deal decisively with any erring Senate or House of Representative member who allows himself to be used by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in an attempt to produce the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives.
Recall that the present leadership of the 8th National Assembly both Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives were elected in 2015 on the platform of the APC despite being the majority, aligned with the opposition PDP to emerge against the wish of the ruling party and thereafter decamped to the PDP.
Speaking with State House correspondents, Hon Jubrin Abdulmumin, disclosed this after a meeting with the President at the weekend, in Aso Villa, Abuja.
Abdulmumin, however, said that no any elected senator or member of APC would allow himself to be used by the opposition like in the case of 2015.
He recalled that in the case of 2015, there wasn’t consequences, warning, “I am pretty sure that this time around, if anybody allowed himself to be used by the opposition party, there will certainly be consequences.”
The lawmaker said: “The position of our party and our leaders has always been that all elected members and of course, senators should exercise patience, work is going on, consultations are being carried out and I believe that no any elected senator or members of APC would allow himself to be used by the opposition like in the case of 2015.
Hon. Abdulmumin, who met with the president behind closed doors, said: “I met with the Mr. President, first to greet him as usual, for all he has done and to also congratulate him and to also offer a few pieces of advice.
Because we all know the political issues now as matters related to the election of the leadership of the National Assembly.
When asked if the Senate and members of the party will follow the wish of the party, he said: That is what is expected.
“But as you also aware, they are matured people, they are elected members, there is need for engagement and need for a lot of lobbying – that is what is obtainable all over the world.
“And we have in the person of the President- our father who is reaching out to everybody and of course the party chairman and other leaders working day and night consulting members and lobbying where they should so that at the end of the day we can have a very smooth leadership election.”
Speaking further, Abdulmumin admitted that there were some elements of desperation, saying, that a lot of people were coming out to indicate interest.
He said: “Personally, I have complained about that and the way and manner they are going about it it’s a bit unhealthy for the party, because at the end of the day only one person will become Senate president and only one person will become the Speaker and other principal officers.
“So we need to start imbibing the culture of putting the country first or the party first before ourselves. Personally, I have demonstrated that because I have indicated that I am not interested in running for the office of the speakership, deputy speakership or any principal office because of how chucked up the whole system is as regard the number of people that are contesting.
“One of the very important issues that we tend to forget is that completely, the narrative has changed.
“All of us tend to be focused on who you want, who wants to contest, who wants powers, who wants to grab office A or office B. We’ve completely forgotten that what is equally important is for us to start asking the question what commitment is the person who will emerge or we are ready to support and ready to commit to the basic issues.
“Is he ready to commit to electronic system in the National Assembly so that you all that belong to constituencies would be able to see if your member or senator voted yes or no on any bill, motion or anything in the National Assembly?
“Is he ready commit to open up attendance of members, publish it so that our constituents will be able to see whether their members or senators attend sittings or not?
Is he ready to commit to town hall meeting that are attended by members? Is he ready to commit to run a functional constituency office that funds are always provided for?
“This time around I think, not only that the party has a responsibility, Nigerians also have responsibility to ensure that whoever will emerge as a leader in the National Assembly must commit to these basic issues.”
On whether the ruling party will zone the leadership and principal offices in the National Assembly, the outspoken legislator answered in affirmative, adding that it would make things much easier and to narrow down the contest to a fewer people.
According to him, the party is expected to bring out a zoning arrangement which “of course we expect everybody should abide by the zoning.
“And of course, if you don’t, I personally believe that there should be or there is a consequence for that,” he added.
The ruling APC has majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives – 65 senators-elected so far, while the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has only 41. Another political party, the Young Progressives Party (YPP) has one senator-elect.