Fred Ezeh, Abuja
A civil society group, Partners for Legislative Agenda for Nigeria (PLAN), has cautioned the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), against anointing a particular senator from the North East for the position of Senate President in the 9th Senate to be inaugurated in June.
The group said it has no problem with the decision of APC to zone the Senate Presidency to North East but was uncomfortable with the decision to anoint one or two senators for the position.
It thus suggested that the position be thrown open to senators from the North East to allow eligible senators to aspire and contest for the position, instead of narrowing it down to one or two persons.
Coordinator of the group, Charles Ibiang, who addressed a press conference in Abuja, raised observations that the decision of APC could create unnecessary acrimony that might result in the emergence of a Senate leadership that is outside the plans of the APC.
He challenged the leadership of APC to tread with caution and wisdom so that it doesn’t incur the anger of other senators which might force them to work closely with the opposition senators to thwart the plans of APC.
He said: “There are a number of experienced, exposed, versatile, cosmopolitan and broad-minded ranking senators from the North East. We suggest that the search is broadened for the very best to emerge. The idea of a handpicked Senate president is undemocratic and undesirable.”
He challenged the senators-elect to rise to the occasion, adding that it is incumbent on them, on behalf of Nigerians who elected them, to choose a senate president that can build bipartisan and nationalistic bridges which will help to stabilise the polity and bridge the unity gap.
He cautioned the contenders against dragging the name of President Muhammadu Buhari into the race, to possibly boost their support base.
“It must be clear that President Buhari has not shown any sign of supporting any project that undermines participatory democracy. He has repeatedly shown that in his characters and utterances,” he said.