THE battle for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly has already started heating up, with the major contenders of the number three and four seats in the country exhibiting their qualities, capacities, qualifications and flexing their muscles. The underground work and lobbying have also started. Also, there are insinuations that vote-buying has taken shape, too, as it is part of the business in the country’s politics.
On the other hand, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has kept mute on its position regarding where the leadership of the 10th National Assembly will go while stakeholders within and outside the party have been advising the president-elect and the party’s leadership to quickly address this by zoning the positions so as to avoid what happened in the eight assembly.
The president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, unlike the outgoing president, is a real politician and strategic, as such he knows the importance of a loyal house both in running his government smoothly and in terms of executing developmental projects. But his silence regarding the leadership of the house is sending a negative message to well-meaning Nigerians who have been expecting him and the chairman of the party to call an urgent meeting to address the issue before it sinks the party into an avoidable crisis.
Recently, we have seen how heavyweight members of the APC are announcing their interest to lead the 10th National Assembly, especially the red chamber. Among the heavyweight senators-elect who already declared their interest publicly are the senator representing Abia North, Senator Uzor Oji Kalu, who was a former governor of Abia State.
There is also one term senator going for his second term, Senator Barau I. Jibrin, representing Kano North. Barau was a former member of the House of Representatives, a two-term senator, and going for his third term.
Another contender for the seat is the former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who was a former member of the House of Representatives. Although the other two senators have more legislative experience than Yari, and experience being part of the precondition of becoming either senate president or speaker of the House of Representatives, but in Nigerian politics, anything is possible.
Though politics rewards people based on their performance and contributions they offer to their party, in the spirit of fairness, justice and national interest, equity must be applied in sharing the major political positions in the country. Before delving into that, let’s look at the votes given by each zone to the winning political party in the 2023 general election.
The North-West, which has the highest registered voters in the country, gave the president elect a total of 2,652,824. The South-West produced 2,542,979, South-East produced 127, 605 while South-South gifted Mr. Tinubu 799,957. Based on percentage, the North-West gave the president-elect the highest percentage of the votes he garnered which is 30 percent, South-East, one percent, South-South, nine percent, while his home zone, South-West gave him 27 percent.
From the perspective of common sense, one will conclude that the North-West being the zone that gave the president-elect the highest votes both in terms of number and percentage coupled with the fact that the zone has never produced the senate president should this time be given the chance to produce one. However, in politics fairness and equity in the distribution of political positions and resource sharing are what keep the pillars of democracy firm and solid. Even though the South-East gave the president-elect a miserable contribution of one percent and South-South nine percent of their votes, the zones should this time be allowed to produce the next senate president. Going contrary to this will further escalate the crisis, discomfort and alleged sidelining by the ruling party of a certain group of people, especially the Christians in the country.
Sabo, ANIFR, is the Campaign and Communication Officer of the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD). He can be reached via his email address: [email protected]