A coalition of pro- democracy groups under the auspices of National Coalition in Defence of Democracy has asked the leadership of the All Progressives Congress and the Presidency to avoid the mistake of the past and refrain from imposing leaders on the National Assembly, especially the Senate.
The group warned that attempts by previous governments to impose leaders on the National Assembly have always ended badly with the eventual impeachment of those imposed by the Presidency, giving examples of such impositions by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
National Coordinator of the coalition, Ambassador Auwal Alhassan Gama told a news conference on Monday in Abuja that rather than micro zone the position of the President of the Senate to an individual, they were of the view that the senators whom they described as men of integrity should be allowed to pick their own leaders.
They expressed the belief that if allowed to select their leaders, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume would emerge as the Senate President considering his wealth of experience as a legislator and would ensure a cordial relationship between the executive and the legislature.
Reminded that the leadership of the party has already taken a stand and may not turn back on it, Gama said “it is not constitutional to micro zone the positions to individuals. Having zoned it to the zones, it is our belief that the zone should be allowed to decide on who they want as doing so would amount to disenfranchising others.
“We don’t support picking an individual by the party. It is our belief that the 109 senators who are men of integrity should be allowed to make their choice of who should lead them. But if our suggestions are not carried, it would go down in history that we spoke out.
Asked why they were particular about the position of the Senate President and silent on that of the Speaker of the House of Representatives which has not been given to any zone, Gama said they decided to speak out on the position of Senate President since the party has already made its decision on it known.
He said: “the forum observed among other things that one of the reasons why the present government under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR did not meet up the expectations of many Nigerians in the areas of Infrastructure and Human development was a result of the sour relationship between the Executive and the Legislative arms of Government. This has created setbacks in the areas of non-full implementation of the budget and alteration on key intended project by the government.
“The National Coalition In Defence of Democracy in its wisdom felt the need to call on the newly elected members of the upper chambers of the National Assembly irrespective of the political party to consider Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, a three term senator from Borno South Senatorial district of Borno State, a Patriot, a detribaised Nigerian and an experienced member of the National Assembly who has contributed to the growth of our democracy for the position of President of the Senate.
“The decision to call for Support for Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume’s emergence as the next Senate president is born out of our desire for a healthy working relationship between the Executives and the Legislature for a better delivery of democratic dividends. It is our believe that he will bring his matured sense of reasoning, experience and fear of God into play as the Chairman of the National Assembly, he is one politician we know and trust Will unite all interest in the National Assembly.
“While we salute the courage and goodwill of the presidency in allowing the independent of all arms of government to run its activities independently, it is equally important for all stakeholders including the APC National Working Committee to provide a level playing ground for all its members at the North Eastern part of the country who deemed it fit to contest.
“We wish to call on all members of the National Assembly Elect, especially those of the upper chambers to support the call for Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume’s Senate Presidency. We were part of the process that brought you on-board and it is our humble plea and believes that Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume will not disappoint us.”