Endorsement of Senator Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North) by the Presidency and national leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC as the sole candidate for the position of Senate President of the 9th Senate, has been described as a time bomb that would explode on June 10 or 11 during the inauguration of both chambers of National Assembly.
Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi (PDP Kaduna North), who spoke with journalists yesterday in Abuja, said such endorsement was the beginning of crisis for APC in the 9th Assembly.
The lawmaker was one of the 60 senators elected on the platform of APC in 2015, but later defected to the People’s Democratic Party, PDP last year following irreconcilable differences between him and Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai on the latter’s style of governance.
According to him, with Lawan’s sole choice for the office of 9th Senate President, APC has not learnt any lesson from the shocker it received during the inauguration of 8th Senate when Dr. Bukola Saraki who was not the party’s choice emerged as the number three citizen even with a member of opposition as his deputy.
Senator Ahmed Lawan
Senator Hunkuyi explained that endorsing or anointing candidate by leadership of any party for any of the four presiding officers’ positions in the National Assembly is not only undemocratic, but blatantly unconstitutional going by provisions of section 50 (1a and b) of the 1999 constitution as amended.
The provisions, according to him states: “There shall be a President and Deputy President of the Senate who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves; and (b) a Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves”.
“Clearly by the two provisions, only the 109 senators-elect and 360 Hon Members of the House of Representatives-elect , are empowered to decide who their leaders as regards the positions of President of the Senate, Deputy Senate President,:Speaker of the House of Representatives and Deputy Speaker should be at any given time, particularly at the commencement of a new Assembly.
“Therefore, for any other person or group of persons outside the 469 constitutionally empowered persons to by way of pontification, anointment, selection, appointment or endorsement, saying Senator A or B is the one for this or that position is not only wrong but making clear affront on democracy itself.
“Must Senators be dictated to and or Senators and members of House of Representatives cabinet members of the presidency that must be railroaded or tele-guided on on issues that are strictly theirs?
“Democracy is not a crazy culture but culture of respects for peoples rights, views and constitutionally spelt out responsibilities.
“The culture of anointment or imposition the APC in collaboration with the presidency wants to infuse into it must be rejected and I know it will be rejected by the elected federal lawmakers.
“Though I don’t have the right of participation at the coming 9th Senate particularly in the election process at inauguration, but i have a say through interaction with many of the Senators-elect, already giving me the feelers that as elected senators of the federal Republic of Nigeria, their independent mindedness will come to play on the day of inauguration.
“If APC as a party just zone the positions without endorsement of anybody, it would have been better but insisting that a particular person must emerge for a particular position is turning the principles of democracy and separation of powers upside down with attendant backfiring effects”, he stressed.