BY Samuel Akpan
Some stakeholders and civil society organisations (CSOs) in the north have faulted the nomination of candidates for leadership positions in the national assembly.
The stakeholders expressed their position at a colloquium organised by the Democratic Watch Initiative (DWI) on Thursday, in Kaduna state.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) had nominated Tajudeen Abbas, a member of the house of representatives, and Godswill Akpabio, a former minister of Niger Delta affairs, as candidates for the speaker and president of the senate.
The ruling party also picked Barau Jibrin, senator representing Kano north, as deputy senate president, and Benjamin Kalu, current house spokesperson, as deputy speaker.
In a communique issued on Sunday and jointly signed by Nasiru Danbatta, convener of DWI, and Muhammad Bello, the stakeholders said it is an “encroachment” for the APC to nominate candidates for the leadership of the national assembly.
“The current attempt to impose leaders on people of maturity and proven experience elected to represent their various constituencies in the 10th national assembly amounts to an encroachment on the sanctity of the legislature,” the communique reads.
“The meeting wondered why the leadership of the APC — itself a product of democratic election and which subjected its presidential ticket contest to elections should now be the same party attempting to manipulate the system to one of selection and imposition.
“The colloquium, therefore, condemned the stubborn insistence on the resort to old tactics of imposing leaders on institutions as important as the national assembly by the APC national working committee under its chairman, Abdullahi Adamu.”
The stakeholders said the leaders of the national assembly should be independently elected by the lawmakers.
They asked President-elect Bola Tinubu to prevail on the APC to rescind its zoning decision and allow all aspirants in the race to contest.
“We insist in this regard, that Abdul-Azeez Yari and all other contestants for the senate presidency be given their fair constitutional right to franchise alongside others from the southern part of the country,” the communique reads.
“Abbas Tajudeen, Betara, and all candidates for the house of representatives speakership from the north should also be encouraged to subject their aspirations to voting.
“We, however, caution that capacity, character and competence should take priority above every other consideration during the voting process.
“The colloquium finally resolved to call the attention of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to be vigilant as to the political opportunists that surround him with the intent of forming another cabal who are behind this scheme, aiming to pitch him against his traditional political friends and sections of the country.
“We implore the president-elect to reclaim the people’s confidence in his untainted democratic credentials and commitment to entrenching sustainable democracy, restoring the glory of governance, reclaiming the sanctity of constitutionalism and respect for the rule of law by coming out openly to renounce any purported announcement of preferred candidates.”