Former Interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress(APC), Chief Bisi Akande, said Tuesday that contrary to expectations, the party will not adopt zoning to determine who emerges Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as other principal positions in the 8th National Assembly.
Before Akande’s pronouncement, members of the party from various geo-political zones have been lobbying to produce the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, since the APC will form the majority party in the Assembly when it is inaugurated in June.
But Chief Akande said: “Zoning is very strange to my party. There is no zoning in our constitution and we don’t want to copy the PDP in anything we are doing,” Akande, who had also served as Governor of Osun State told journalists in Lagos during a chat.
“Everybody is free to fight for the position. I want the best man to occupy the position. The trouble we have is that some people are asking for zoning and we are asking questions? Is it zoning according to nationalities? If yes, within the North central alone, there are many nationalities. Not one, not two, two three, not four. Is it zoning according to religion? So, we want to be very careful.
“It is true that, sometime, after the elections, the national chairman wanted to toy with the idea of zoning and unanimously, we said no. We don’t want to zone. We are taking over from a delinquent administration and one of the most prodigal institutions of that administration is the National Assembly. I used the word prodigal because, according to the governor of the Central Bank, the recurrent expenditure of the National Assembly was N10 billion at the beginning. But, it rose to about N150 billion and the clamour in the country is that their personal income is prohibitive and in secrecy. So, all these created, may be, the scramble for the leadership of the National Assembly,” Akande said.
He added: “During the period of Shagari, Ekwueme was the Vice President. He is a Christian. Ume-Ezeoke was the Speaker of the House of Representatives. He was a Christian. They are both from the Southeast. Vice President Sambo is from the Northwest. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, is from the Northwest. So, it can happen.
“We don’t want to say choose on the basis of being Christian, Muslim, Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa. Otherwise, we won’t be able to get the best in terms of appointment. That is why we have not sat to zone it to anywhere. We are trying to manage those who are vying for it so that the best man will get there. Compromises would have to be made and sacrifices would be welcome…
“We don’t want our party to be involved in the prodigal nature of the National Assembly. To prune it down, we need to do a lot of compromising and sacrificing and we need to select among the leaders of the party who are members of the Senate that will be able to control the culture of the National Assembly according to the policies of our party. So, because of that, we want to be cautious about zoning. We unanimously agreed that we didn’t want to zone,”