The Citizens Network For Peace and Development in Nigeria (CNPDN) has called on the National Working Committee (NWC) and various organs of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to zone the Senate presidency to the South-South.
It specifically suggested that the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, be considered for the job.
National Secretary of CNPDN, Francis Wainwei, while addressing newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, lamented that the South-South has not been given the opportunity to produce the President of the Senate since the return of democratic rule in 1999.
“It will also drastically reduce the usual acrimony that characterizes such struggle for power among the geo-political zones, thereby, reducing unnecessary distractions for the peaceful and smooth take-off of the new dispensation under the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Akpabio is the only ranking senator from the South-South and based on Senate standing rules, only ranking members of the upper legislative chamber, are eligible to contest for the positions of the President and Deputy President of the Senate, respectively.
“The electoral contribution of the South-South greatly helped the ruling party to clinch the presidency in the 2023 presidential election, hence the party must consolidate on its electoral success by zoning the Senate Presidency to it. In the same vein, we are calling on the ruling party to also zone all the available political positions equitably among the six geopolitical zones, in order to strengthen national unity and cohesion.”
On the contrary, a civil society group, Concerned Nigerians for Sustainable Democracy, opted for a South East senate president.
Coordinator of the group, Dr Amos Gizo, who also addressed journalists in Abuja, said: “The Muslim-Muslim ticket that almost cost the APC the success at the polls has come and gone. Nigeria now has the number one and two citizens as Muslims. If the nation is to stand, those agitating for the Senate president from the North West should step down for the sake of democracy and inclusiveness as all the likely contestants from the North West are Muslims.
“The political crisis this attempt will cause may consume the nation. If APC truly wants to rule for 16 years and even more, this balance is not negotiable. It must be taken seriously and be conceded to a Christian senator from the South East.”
It added: “Presently, there is a need to dilute the Peter Obi phenomenon in the South-East. The need to give South-East a sense of belonging since 2015 till date under APC. Need to douse the IPOB/ESN and general insecurity in the South-East. South-East is in the majority in terms of population spread across the federation against the South-South.
“Our position is to strengthen democracy, reduce political tension, reduce security threats and keep Nigeria one. We are not mindful of the fact that democracy is a game of numbers but we are equally mindful that Nigeria is a cosmopolitan and a multi-religious state that needs special handling in the spirit of keeping the Nigerian state one.”