Noah Ebije, Kaduna.
A Northern group, the Arewa Youth Awareness Forum (AYAF), has opposed the decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to adopt the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, as Speaker for the 9th Assembly.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday, the group said the endorsement was against the collective interest of the North ahead of 2023 presidency.
The statement was signed by the group’s Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary-General – Mohammed Sani-Kabir, Salisu Abdurrahaman and Ben Alege, respectively.
The APC had on Tuesday adopted Gbajabiamila when President Muhammadu Buhari hosted members-elect to a dinner at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
However, some members-elect from the North-Central geopolitical zone have kicked against the endorsement, saying Gbajabiamila was not the best option for Northern interest.
They accused the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu and its National Chairman, Adams Oshiomohle of scheming for the 2023 presidency.
They said they were alarmed by the dictatorial and insensitive manners in which the party foisted the leadership on the two Chambers of the National Assembly.
While cautioning the party against “compromising the interest of the region” ahead of the 2023 presidency, the group, therefore, urged the party leadership to allow members-elect to freely choose their principal leaders for the 9th National Assembly.
This is just as they urged members-elect to be guided by its extant rules in picking their leaders.
The statement reads in part: “We are alarmed by the dictatorial and insensitive plot by the APC leadership to foist leadership on the two chambers of the National Assembly.
“We are also concerned by the fact that northern interests are being compromised with great implication for the future of the region.
“We also urged lawmakers of northern extractions to resist any attempt by the party leadership to use them against the overall interest of the north.
“It is sad to hear that House and Senate Committees positions are already being shared at Bourdillon.
“It is risky for President Buhari, the North and the entire federation for one man to be in control of the Vice President, ruling party chairman, Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives,” the group added.