BY G9IJA

The South-West Governors’ Forum (SGF), has vehemently rejected the zoning arrangement for the leadership positions of the 10th National Assembly, announced by the All Progressives Congress. 

The governor specifically wondered why a political zone would be favoured with two slots at the instance of others in the permutation carried out by the ruling party. 

“It is an insidious permutation that North-East will be deprived in the face of the unsavoury generosity dispensed through two slots to a particular geo-political zone. It is self-repudiating for one to argue, therefore, that the Speaker of the House of Representatives cannot also emerge from the North-East. 

“Therefore, the move to zone the National Assembly leadership positions on the behest of interested personalities with perceived closeness to the President-elect manifestingly, lays the dangerous foundation of distrust, and needless suspicion even as it structures nothing but a combination of booby traps. We must avoid all these,” the southwest governors said in the statement signed by the forum’s chairman, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo and obtained by Peoples Gazette. 

The APC, on Monday, officially released the zoning arrangement for the yet-to-be-inaugurated 10th National Assembly leadership positions. 

The APC had in the zoning plans endorsed Senator Godswill Akpabio from the South-South geopolitical zone as the President of the Senate while Senator Barau Jibrin was picked as his deputy from the North-West.

Also in the House of Representatives, the party endorsed Tajudeen Abass from the North-West as the Speaker and Benjamin Kalu from the South-East as deputy.

The endorsement of the National Assembly leadership had earlier been sealed by the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, after several meetings and negotiations with some key members of the party. 

Mr Tinubu was said to have met with the leadership of the APC, last week Friday in Abuja, where the decision that led to the endorsement of the four lawmakers as presiding officers was taken. 

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Felix Morka, later put out a statement to confirm the zoning, after the National Working Committee meeting in Abuja. 

But Mr Akeredolu said the intentions and motives of the zoning formula already represented early signs of steps aimed to tackle the hard-earned presidency seat for Mr Tinubu. 

According to him, the North should play a stronger, more robust and all-inclusive role in the emergence of the positions zoned to the region, especially the speakership.

“Aside the unpretentious ambiguity in the purported Press Statement issued by the leadership of the APC, the contents, intentions and motives of the zoning formula represent early signs of steps aimed at attempts to cabin the hard-earned Presidency for our Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu by a few individuals with eyes on ASO ROCK POWER BUTTONS. 

“It is trite to aver, that, it stands logic on the head that one geo-political zone, North-West in this regard, will be favoured with two presiding officers positions out of four while North-Central suffers the consequences for its innocence and shrewd loyalty by having none,” Mr Akeredolu added. 

He added, “Furthermore, it strikes a huge ingratitude that the role of the Progressive Governors Forum appears unimportant. As leaders of the Party in their respective States, there cannot be a greater disservice to them that a consensus was yet to be reached when the NWC hurriedly released a dangerous tool for the opposition in the guise of a zoning formula. To me, even on this note, it’s unacceptable. 

“Does it not also exude a serious discomfort that the aspirants to the Speakership were not consulted, approached and effectively engaged before the purported zoning formula? It does, and clearly so.”

While saluting the courage of the speakership aspirants for their show of solidarity, companionship and applaudable love for the party, Mr Akeredolu advised them to continue in their rejection, resentment and objection to the “brazenly teleguided zoning arrangement” that was skewed and targeted against some zones and identified individuals. 

“Their action is commendable just as they are urged to ensure they pursue this to a logical conclusion. This is an unworkable arrangement that reinforces injustice and enhances inequity; and I join them in rejecting this zoning formula.”

He, however, called on the NWC of the party to follow the path of purity and Justice, stressing that it “perhaps expedient that Mr President-elect interrogates this skewed arrangement and give direction that reflects our collective commitment to equality and fairness.

“In this particular case, and for the purpose of avoiding a repeat of untoward situations, it is advised that the APC NWC immediately summons the National Executive Committee (NEC)after robust National Caucus/Stakeholders parley to agree on terms that would strengthen our great party,” the statement further read. 

The Gazette gathered that many aspirants jostling for the leadership positions of the National Assembly especially those seeking to be Speaker of the House of Representatives have vowed to resist the party’s preference in what appeared to be a rebellion, following the zoning formula.