Ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration of the 9th National Assembly and election of principal officers, stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South East and South- South zones have cautioned the National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Onilu, over comments capable of destroying the party.
Onilu had on Monday morning issued a statement, saying the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC had formally adopted Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who was involved in the mace-snatching saga in the 8th National Assembly as the party’s candidate for the position of deputy senate president.
According to the Chairman of the South East and South-South Progressives Mind (SSPM), Chief Amadi Amstrong, any decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC must be duly, appropriately and well-communicated to party leaders, chieftains, members, loyalists, well-wishers and the general public.
In a statement issued in Asaba on Monday, the group faulted Onilu for misleading not only the contenders for the position of deputy Senate president but also the public, whose interest will be protected by the National Assembly.
He said: “The pronouncement of the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Lanre Onilu on the purported adoption of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as the party’s candidate for the position of Deputy Senate President, is self-serving and unpatriotic as it is Onilu’s wishful thinking and not the position of President Muhammadu Buhari and other stakeholders of our great party including highly respected members of the APC NWC.
He said: “The APC has a working system and procedures are professionally and duly followed. We know that if truly the president and members NWC of our great party have adopted Omo-Agege, their decision will be communicated in a robust and just manner.
“Onilu should guide his utterances as they are capable of causing disharmony among party stakeholders.
“We stand firmly with all contenders for the position of deputy senate president and wish them all the best of luck in the contest on the floor of the red and green chambers.”
While pledging their unalloyed support for the duo of Senator Ahmed Lawan and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila for the positions of Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively, the group urged the party leadership to allow free contest for other positions in the National Assembly.
Earlier, Senator Francis Alimikhena (APC) representing Edo North senatorial district, vowed not to drop his ambition to become the deputy senate president.
Alimikhena, who served as Deputy Chief Whip in the 8th Senate, disclosed that he was still in the race, while debunking the purported adoption of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as the adopted candidate of the APC.
The senator in a statement said: “My attention has been drawn to speculations in some quarters claiming that I, Francis Alimikhena, have stepped down from the race for the position of deputy senate president.
“I am still in the race. I have not stepped down for anybody. How will I step down and who will I step down for? I am a ranking senator, a principal officer in the 8th Senate, an experienced personality who had served on various ad-hoc Committee s in the just concluded Senate.
“I want to assure my colleagues of purposeful leadership; I want them to support and vote for me as the deputy senate president as I promise to provide purposeful leadership. I have the humility, expertise, and temperament required for the office.
“I have been a very loyal party member; my relationship also cuts across party divide.”