‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja
DAILY COURIER – A socio-political pressure group and non-government organization (NGO), the Women for Yari Movement, has charged the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to withdraw a recently released list in which the NWC not only zoned the leadership positions of the 10th National Assembly to some geo-political areas in the country but went ahead to handpick individuals to occupy the plum posts in the incoming NASS.
The Women for Yari Movement made the call at press conference in Abuja on Sunday, 21 May, 2023 where it canvassed non-interference by either the APC NWC or Tinubu in the on-going race to lead both chambers of the 10th NASS.
In her address at the media briefing, Convener, Women For Yari Movement, Comrade Sofiya Ibrahim Ogoh, stated that “the Women For Yari Movement deems it fit to stage this intervention because as mothers to the incoming members of the National Assembly and indeed to all in this country, we cannot sit idly and watch our children cross swords over a totally avoidable crisis.”
The APC had nominated Godswill Akpabio, a former minister of Niger Delta affairs, as candidate for president of the senate.
The ruling party also picked Barau Jibrin, senator representing Kano north, as deputy senate president.
Nevertheless, some party stakeholders and aspirants in the national assembly leadership race have protested against the micro-zoning the position among whom is the former governor of Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari.
According to a media statement by the group, Mrs. Ogoh observed that: “Recently, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) made public a list zoning the office of the President of the Senate and other top positions in the incoming 10th National Assembly (NASS). That zoning list has complicated matters in the APC, among Senators-Elect and Members-Elect of the 10th NASS and generated a huge controversy among Nigerians nationwide.
“The Women For Yari Movement notes that rather than foster national unity and heal the land after a bitterly fought 2023 General Elections, the APC zoning list has divided further the party and the country.”
The group’s statement entitled, “10th NASS Leadership: APC, Zoning and Mothers As Metaphor” continued: “The Women For Yari Movement states that the APC National Working Committee has failed to heed a great principle of successful motherhood, to wit: A wise and true Matriarch of the House does not play favouritism among her children. She dishes out motherly care and affection to all her children equally.
It is a deliberate and life-long act which engenders peace and harmony in the family, which then allows all members of the household, particularly the children, to live to their fullest potential in the bosom of the true Matriarch.
“Applied in politics in the particular case of electing the leadership of the incoming 10th NASS and specifically the next Senate President, the APC National Working Committee should not have anointed a favourite among the 109 senators as Senate President and for other positions. As the political platform which birthed the majority of senators elected into the incoming Senate, the APC National Working Committee ought to have stayed on the sidelines – like true mothers do at school inter-house sports, etc – and cheer all the children on the field to play or run, freely, fairly and to the best of their natural abilities, and then celebrate the very act of sportsmanship, not merely the victors in a fleeting, ephemeral event.”
To stop the crisis in its wake, the group wrote: “NASS Proclamation Day is still some weeks away. Therefore, it is not too late for the APC National Working Committee to embrace the metaphor of true mothers to stem the crisis engulfing the party over that zoning list, which upsurge, we can assure the party, would continue to rise as May 29, 2023 Presidential Inauguration Day nears for the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to take office.
“Although the APC National Working Committee claimed that the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other critical stakeholders were consulted in the course of drawing up that zoning list, it has since emerged that this is far from the truth, and that a nascent cabal may have formed from the APC NWC and Asiwaju’s inner circle which unilaterally handpicked their friends and zoned the Senate leadership positions to them.
“For instance, the Women For Yari Movement can inform you gentlemen of the press and indeed the whole nation that nothing worthy of being called “consultation” was carried out by the APC NWC among the candidates to lead the Senate. That the APC zoning list had only snowballed the Senate leadership tussle into a giant inferno threatening to consume all in its path validates our claim.
“Party Supremacy cannot be a pretext to serve out injustice. The Women For Yari Movement calls on the APC NWC to withdraw that discredited zoning list and allow a free and fair contest for the leadership of the 10th Senate.”
The statement concluded: “The Women For Yari Movement urges the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to prevail on his inner circle to back off from imposing leaders on the incoming 10th NASS, lest their interloping becomes the recipe for a disastrous start to the Tinubu Presidency.
“All candidates aspiring to the Senate Presidency of the 10th NASS are patriots who would work with the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the Executive and with the Judiciary for a better Nigeria. None of them should be hamstrung for a cabal’s choices. The independence of the parliament is sacrosanct in a true democracy. It starts with members freely electing their leaders on Proclamation Day, without extraneous meddling either by the Party or the Executive. This is the minimum we demand of the APC NWC, the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the whirling cabalists rumored to have set store around him.
“While we speak as the Women For Yari Movement, a level-playing field for all candidates angling to lead the next Senate is the primary reason we made this intervention in a seething crisis.
“The Women For Yari Movement insists that the 10th NASS would be led by competent hands freely elected by members themselves. Of course from the pool, we are convinced that Distinguished Senator Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar enjoys the confidence of the majority of the incoming senators of the 10th NASS and will be elected on the first ballot in a free, open and fair contest – based on his personal competence and decades of experience in public service, which has seen him grow from the grassroots as party foot soldier to being party executive, two-term governor, chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and now a Distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”