A forum of former members of House of Representatives under the All Progressives Congress(APC), says the party leadership cannot afford to leave to chance leadership positions in the 9th National Assembly.
The forum stated this on Friday in Abuja at a news conference, adding that leaving such to chance, could bring a repeat of what happened in the 8th National Assembly in 2015.
Mr Idris Yakubu, who spoke on behalf of the forum, recalled that in 2015, the APC made the mistake of not giving enough attention to the election of the leadership of the National Assembly, saying that the party paid dearly for that.
This, he said, is especially so because the party has to constantly battle with a hostile legislature since its leaders were not products of its internal democratic arrangement.
Yakubu stressed that the APC as the ruling party with the majority, cannot afford to make such mistake again.
“It is our strong view that the party must step forward to provide political direction to the elected members at the National Assembly by zoning all leadership positions to specific areas and where possible states.
“This we believe will douse the unnecessary tension being generated in the bid by individual members from the different geopolitical divides of the country to aspire to those positions,” he said.
He added that such step would avoid further digging of trenches which the party could not afford to allow at this stage.
Yakubu further added that it is high time the party take a decision on this to make its stand known to the elected lawmakers on time.
This, he said, is critical to prevent a repeat of the 2015 scenario where it was unable to stop vested interests which have gone far in their campaigns by the time the party decided to step in.
He noted that if the varied interests are not streamlined on time and individuals are allowed to take hard line positions, it would be difficult to make them reverse their stance without causing further frictions.
He added that the forum is however, ready to support the party in ways that could be considered fair and just by all within its fold.
“As a way of guiding the party to toe the line of equity and fairness, we suggest that consideration be given to cognate experience, party loyalty and acceptability among colleagues.
“But most importantly, consideration should be given to zones where the party performed well and where it is strategically important for the growth of the party.
“In taking a decision, the party must also take note that the North-West and the South-West already have the President and the Vice President respectively,” he said.
Yakubu said there is need to give the other zones sense of belonging to deepen the faith and commitment of members of the zones to the party.
He added that following the party’s decision to zone the President of the Senate to the North-East, the party should go the whole hog by doing same in respect of other leadership positions in the National Assembly.
“Our considered opinion is that the Deputy Senate President be zoned the South-East, South-South, the Speaker to the North Central and the Deputy speakership to the South-South, South-West,” he said.
He added that members elect must be ready to see the intervention of the party as necessary, whether it agrees with their aspirations or not because the party is supreme.
Yakubu further added that major stakeholders in the party should also be prepared to guide their people on the principle of party supremacy and internal party democracy.
“That way the APC will succeed in laying the foundation for a better Nigeria through the instrument of a well structured party that has the interest of its people at heart,” he said.
He congratulated the APC for winning the presidential election and majority seats at the National Assembly at the just concluded general election.
He said for a party that is barely five years, its electoral victory showed that it has managed its success well and that its leaders and elected representatives have further endeared themselves to the Nigerian masses.
He added that by voting for candidates of the APC, Nigerians have sent a strong word that they wanted the party to continue to deliver the dividends of democracy to them.
He, however, added that as the APC tries to consolidate on its recent successes, the party must not lose focus.
He maintained that the party’s leadership most do all it could to stay on track by putting in place a structure that would support its programmes for improving on the lot of the people.
This, he said, is especially because the eyes of the public and the international community is on Nigeria and the party to see if it can translate its electoral victory into something tangible for the entire nation.
He added that the world is watching if the party would be able to put its acts together to create the enabling environment.