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The National Vice Chairman, North-West, of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, says any attempt to allow a Muslim to become the President of the 10th Senate will be insensitive and injurious to the unity of the country.

Lukman stressed that the APC must not allow a Muslim to succeed the incumbent Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, following the election victory of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, and Vice-President, Kashim Shettima, who are both Muslims.

The APC Vice Chairman said this via a statement issued on Monday, April 3, 2023.

He said: “Given that we already have two Muslims occupying the highest positions of President and Vice President, any attempt to allow another Muslim to aspire for the position of Senate President, who is the number three highest-ranking officer in government will be insensitive, injurious to the unity and peaceful co-existence of the country and damage the electoral viability of our party.

“To avert this, and as a party envisioned to be progressive will require activation of wider consultative process and negotiations using our constitutional structures, especially the NEC so that decisions taken will be binding on all members, including the aspiring candidates.

“Being a progressive party specifically requires dynamism, actions, and improvements on how things are managed. Dynamism will require acknowledgement of the realities facing us a nation and as a party vested with the responsibility of providing leaders for the country for another four years, based on which we are able to initiate proposals.

“One of such realities is the existing ethnic and religious tension in the country. Our proposals should seek to improve on previous experiences of leadership formation during the 9th and 10th Assembly.”

Lukman, who is a member of the APC National Working Committee (NWC), stated that the President of the 10th Senate should come from the South-South or South-East region of the country, adding that the Speaker of the House of Representatives should be zoned to North-West.

“I want to restate my position that the leadership profile to emerge for the country on May 29, 2023, is already taking the coloration of the leadership of the country in 1999 with a President from South-West and Vice President from North-East.

“Unlike in 1999, we have two Muslims as president and vice president. It is, therefore, very compelling that the Senate President should come from either the South-South or South-East. And since the North-West produced more votes to give our party the victory in the 2023 presidential election, the position of Speaker House of Representatives should be zoned to North-West in line with what obtained in 1999.

“I want to specifically note that two respected Senators-elect from North-West have made public declaration their aspirations for the position of Senate President. These are His Excellency Abdulaziz Yari and Sen. Barau Jibrin. The North-West has been known for its commitment to progressive politics.

“Our governors and other party leaders from the zone were unwaveringly progressive during the contest to produce Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the presidential candidate of our party for the 2023 elections. They were forthright in ensuring that nothing is done to threaten the unity and peaceful co-existence of Nigeria, based on which they stood for power shift to the Southern part of the country.

“Now that power has shifted to the Southern part of the country, as a region, we equally have the responsibility to regulate the conduct of all our Senators-elect from the North-West, including the two Senators-elect Abdulaziz Yari and Barau Jibrin to withdraw their aspiration for the Senate President.

“All party leaders from North-West must prevail on these leaders to, in the overall interest of the unity and peaceful coexistence of the country withdraw their aspirations to contest the position of Senate President for the 10th Senate. At the most, they should aspire for the position of Majority Leader of the Senate in line with the 1999 zoning formula in the Senate,” the APC Vice Chairman added.

Lukman further urged Tinubu to immediately intervene to restore constitutional order in the management of the APC’s affairs, noting that it will be a mockery to continue to bear the name progressive and continue to run affairs of the party “based on the personal discretion of the National Chairman and National Secretary”.

“Asiwaju Tinubu cannot afford to assume office with the baggage of being a leader of an autocratic and retrogressive APC, which is insensitive to ethnic and religious tension in the country, largely compounded by our inability to regulate the conduct of our Senators-elect and House of Representatives members-elect.

“Everything must be done to return our party to its founding vision of engendering progressive politics in the country, which is about equitable distribution of power and resources in the country,” he added.

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I Will Not Interfere In Ondo Assembly Affairs – Akeredolu




• Leadership positions privilege, not right, Fayemi tells Ekiti lawmakers-elect
• Says selection prerogative of party

Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has assured the incoming members of the 10th House of Assembly of non-interference in their legislative affairs by his administration.

Akeredolu emphasised that his administration upholds and respects the principle of separation of powers among the three arms of government, as stipulated in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended).

The governor gave the promise, yesterday, during a two-day induction programme for the 26 lawmakers-elect in Owo, ahead of their June inauguration.

He, therefore, urged the incoming Assembly members to legislate effectively and promote good governance and development for the benefit of citizens, with the expectation that the legislature will operate independently.

MEANWHILE, the immediate past Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has cautioned the newly-elected members of Ekiti State House of Assembly not to see the position of principal officers as a right but a privilege.

He said it is the prerogative of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to decide the presiding officers of the Assembly.

Fayemi, who spoke during the retreat organised for the outgoing and lawmakers-elect, held at the Ikogosi Warm Resort in Ekiti West Local Council of the state, declared that the lawmakers can’t lobby or contest for positions.

Akeredolu, while urging the lawmakers-elect to see themselves as trustees of the entire state, said the decision of their constituents to elect them as representatives is a big testimony of the confidence reposed in them.

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Lucky Ayedatiwa, described the legislature as the engine room of democracy, adding that when the legislature is removed, what is left is autocracy.

He noted that his administration had a robust relationship with the outgoing Ninth Assembly and urged the incoming 10th Assembly to do the same for continued development.

Earlier, the Speaker of the House, Bamidele Oleyelogun, who declared the event open, said the essence of the programme was to broaden the mind of the elected legislators on the legislative agenda, the procedures, and processes, as well as to remind them of the primary needs of their people.

Oleyelogun noted that the programme is the process of introducing members-elect to the legislative terrain, emphasising that any knowledge acquired at the end of the programme will go a long way in determining their performances as legislators.


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I Am In Partnership With Yari To Produce Next Senate President, Deputy – Kalu




Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, has confirmed a partnership with former Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State to produce next president and deputy of the 10th Red Chamber. 
In an interview with journalists in Abuja, the erstwhile governor of Abia State said sponsors and supporters were on ground, adding that details of the partnership would be unveiled soon.

“We won’t disappoint Nigerians. We are capable of representing ourselves. Yari-Kalu or Kalu-Yari won’t disappoint Nigerians. We will give Nigerians what they require, and the Nigerian people won’t be disappointed,” he promised.

Kalu said the move was to ensure that only the most popular candidate emerge leader of the next Senate.

The ranking lawmaker, who declared that he would not step down for anybody, said the partnership would consult exhaustively.
Checks, however, revealed that Kalu might have settled to be deputy to Yari.

Prodded on candidate for the Senate presidency, the Abia lawmaker responded: “It’s what we don’t know now. This is why it is coming out in the coming days. We are not greedy about it. We are going to face realities. We are going to get a support base. It is not going to be problem. The most important thing is to have an independent legislature that will represent the interest of Nigerians, and represent also, the interest of our colleagues.”

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Wike No Longer Our Member – PDP NEC



A member of the Peoples Democratic Party’s National Executive Committee, Timothy Osadolor, says the immediate-past governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, is no longer a member of the party, given his conduct before, during and after the 2023 general elections.

Osadolor, who gave the hint in a telephone conversation with The PUNCH on Tuesday, noted that the leadership of the party had decided to isolate Wike and render him inconsequential in the affairs of the PDP.

According to him, Wike’s recent public outings wherein he appeared to be leaning towards the All Progressives Congress, give him away as a man in perpetual craving for the spotlight at all times and regardless of the cost to his image as an opposition political leader.

He said, “The PDP has ignored Wike because the man is no longer himself. There are more ways to deal with people apart from sanctioning them. You can keep someone in isolation. He (Wike) can boast that he is the one that stayed away but is it not better to stay away than come to party activities and nobody wants to associate with you? He has been given a cold treatment because he went to court to procure a judgment that says he cannot be suspended but there is no judgment that says he cannot be avoided. That is what the PDP has been doing to him and technically, if Wike wants to say the truth, he will tell you that he is no longer a member of the PDP. No PDP leader or member behaves the way he does.”

But in a swift reaction, a chieftain of the PDP and immediate past Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Chris Finebone, said Wike remained a bona fide member of the opposition party.
Describing Osadolor’s comments as wishful thinking, Finebone said he does not have any power to speak for the party.

He stated, “We can’t identify who he represents, but I think it is wishful thinking. It is wishful thinking and the man who is said to have said that is inconsequential as far as we are concerned.

“And so, whatever he has said is of no effect. His Excellency, the former Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, is 110 per cent a member of PDP and nothing has changed. And nothing can change it.”

On the accusation that Wike has been hobnobbing with Tinubu, he said it was petty and frivolous.

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