Jonathan’s men join push for South South Senate Presidency

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By Iyojo Ameh

Ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly in June, members of a leading Southern democracy forum, Citizens Network For Peace and Development in Nigeria (CNPDN), have called on the National Working Committee (NWC) and the various organs of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), to zone the Senate Presidency to the South South.

Francis Okereke Wainwei, National Secretary of CNPDN, while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, stressed the need to allow the South South geo-political zone produce the Presidency of the senate in this new democratic dispensation so as Foster unity

He said the South South zone has not been given the opportunity to produce the Presidency of the Senate since the return of democratic rule in 1999.

CNPDN was the first group in 2022 that called on former President Goodluck Jonathan to run for the office of the President again.

Following the emergence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu in June, 2022 as the presidential candidate of the APC, the pro-South South group, despite the popularity of Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), openly endorsed Tinubu in December, 2022, in Porthacourt, Rivers State capital.

Making the strong case, the Bayelsa-born National Secretary of CNPDN, said zoning the Senate Presidency of the 10th Senate to the South South zone will foster national unity and engender a true sense of belonging to the people of the geopolitical zone.

He said “it will also drastically reduce the usual acrimony that characterises such struggle for power among the geo-political zones, thereby, reducing unnecessary distractions for the peaceful and smooth take-off of the new dispensation under the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

Currently, Godswill Akpabio, former governor of Akwa Ibom is the only ranking senator from the South South that will a member of the 10th National Assembly.

Based on Senate standing rules, only ranking members of the upper legislative chamber, are eligible to contest for the positions of the President and Deputy President of the Senate respectively.

Speaking further, Wainwei noted: “The call to zone the Senate Presidency of the 10th Senate to the South South is also strengthened by the fact that the All Progressives Congress (APC) got more than 25 % (percent) votes in each of the Six (6) South-South states, irrespective of the fact that before now, it had been known as the stronghold of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“The electoral contribution of the South South greatly helped the ruling party to clinch the presidency in the 2023 presidential election. It is therefore, necessary for the party to consolidate on its electoral success in the zone by zoning the Senate Presidency to it.

“In the same vein, we are calling on the ruling party to also zone all the available political positions equitably among the Six ( 6) geopolitical zones, in order to strengthen national unity and cohesion.

“As patriotic citizens, our primary interest is the unity and prosperity of the nation, hence, this clarion call to the ruling party to do the needful by promoting government of national inclusion, equity and fairness to all the geopolitical zones.”

Narrowing the choice to Akpabio, Wainwei said: “We have also gone further to examine the leadership credentials of senators -elect from the South South zone that have the competence and experience to progressively pilot the affairs of the Senate of the 10th National Assembly .

“Our wide-ranging and robust consultations revealed that His Godswill Akpabio is the right senator-elect with the competence, national acceptability and political experience to effectively pilot the Senate to greater heights. Akpabio being a former Minority Leader of the Senate under the Peoples Democratic Party and now to be President of the Senate under the All Progressives Congress, can be a true unifier; he can be the rallying point of all the senators and a formidable bridge between the Executive and the Legislature, having also been a former governor and minister.

“We are therefore, using this medium to also call on all patriotic senators-elect to support and vote massively for Akpabio to emerge as the Senate President of the 10th Senate for the betterment of the country.

“We are therefore, calling on all patriotic Nigerians who truly want to experience the ‘Nigeria of our Dreams ‘ to prevail on the All Progressives Congress (APC) to zone the position of the Senate President of the 10th Senate to the South South geopolitical zone and also prevail on their senators-elect to facilitate and ensure the emergence of Akpabio as the Senate President of the 10th Senate and the leader of the 10th National Assembly.”

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