The agitation for the Senate Presidency in the forthcoming 9th Republic thickened, on Saturday, with a socio-political organisation, North East Advocacy Group (NEAG), demanding that the position should be zoned to the area because they’ve been marginalised for long.
The NEAG also premised its demand on the fact that the North East geo-political zone, voted massively for President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 presidential election.
“The Senate Presidency should be zoned to the North East as the North Central and South East Zones have produced senate presidents in the recent past. Micro zoning to a State or individual should be avoided as it negatively affects the executive/legislative harmony and smooth running of government business.
The will of the distinguished senators should be respected and upheld, to avoid conflicts and skirmishes between the executive and the legislative arms,” the NEAG said.
The organisation, in a statement, called on the All Progressives Congress (APC) to announce the zoning formular for the principal officers of both the Senate and the House of Representatives as soon as possible.
The statement was signed by Mohammed Kumalia, Ibrahim Zailani, Senator Bashir Marafa, Adamu Modibbo, Abubakar Muazu, Titsi Ganama and Ammuna Ibrahim Khadi.
Other signatories include Emmanuel Bello, Barma Shettima, Mrs Bless Hungushi and Bala Bello Tinka.
The group said the urgent announcement of the principal officers would “avert a situation where the zoning is done after candidates have started campaigning, causing a feeling that the zoning is targetted to favour particular individuals.”
The statement reads: “The North East Zone has never produced the senate president, as this position has always been zoned to other zones, especially the North Central and South East Zones, since the commencement of the current democratic dispensation in 1999.
“We, therefore, respectfully request the ruling party, APC, to zone the position of senate president to the North East Zone. In order to foster a harmonious working relationship between the executive and the legislative arms of government, we also urge the party and the executive arm of government to allow the senators to exercise their constitutional right to choose a senate president of their choice.
“This is to avert the experience in the past, where a candidate who seems to be the preferred choice of the party is rejected by the senators, leading to the election of another candidate who ends up being hostile to the government of the day. The 2015 experience should be a guide for the future.
“We, also, call on the party to announce the zoning formular for the principal officers of both the Senate and the House of Representatives as soon as possible, in order to avert a situation where the zoning is done after candidates have started campaigning and causing a feeling that the zoning is targetted to favour particular individuals.
“In the last 20 years, these zones have occupied the position for a total of 12 years; Senator David Mark (eight years) and Senator Bukola Saraki (four years). The zone had earlier produced two senate presidents in the persons of Chief Ameh Ebute and Senator Iyorchia Ayu.
“The South East has also produced Late Senator Evans Enwerem, Late Senator Chuba Okadigbo, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and Senator Ken Nnamani, who cumulatively occupied the position for a period of eight years.
“In the 2019 general elections, the North East Zone voted massively for President Muhammadu Buhari and became the zone that contributed the second highest number of votes to Mr. President.
“It is only just and fair that the North East is considered for the third highest position of the country after the positions of president and vice president, considering the electoral contribution of the zone to Mr. President’s victory at the polls.”