10th NASS: We Prefer Independent Legislature, Northern Senate Presidency – Group
A meeting of Northern Nigerian elite and other critical components of the Northern society has reached a consensus that the North having played the most significant role in the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at February presidential elections, becomes the automatic claimant to the position of the Senate President.
The elite consensus was reached in Kaduna at a colloquium organized by the Democracy Watch Initiative with the theme “Inclusive Participation for sustainable Democracy” under the Chairmanship of former Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki.
Various speakers at the event which was attended by several civil society, women, youth and trade groups, concluded that the northern voter has done his job and it is now payback time.
Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in his address delivered virtually, noted that some people voted because of convictions over qualities of candidates, some because they were induced; some along faith lines and others along party lines.
The result, he said, was that the North was the only region that gave all the candidates huge votes and made the difference in terms of who became elected at presidential level.
“The northern voter has done his job,” he said.
He advised individuals and groups lobbying for positions for northern legislators to be conscious of a number of things.
“First, the best thing is to respect the independence of the legislature and allow members to choose their leaders,” he said.
Hakeem warned that the the North does not want just any legislator from the North to become Speaker but one that should have the highest personal integrity and a good idea of how his position can help him.
“All of them contesting should submit to a process by which their fellow contestants nominate them and then support.
“The same thing should be done at Senate level.If they who know each other better than us cannot decide who will serve our interests as Northerners best, then we stop campaigning for all of them.
“We do not want legislators who want to be in positions of power to fulfill personal ambition,” Hakeem Baba-Ahmed said.
Another speaker, Prof Abubakar Abdulllahi, while supporting the calls for the North to be compensated, said democracy is never given its taken and who ever came in come with his interest.
“People have to negotiate with you for votes and for sharing of positions,” he said.
Other speakers, Dr Sadiq Gombe, Prof Abubakar Jika jiddere all agreed that the North should be the rightful claimant to the senate president position.
They however all concur on democratic election as the best and only acceptable means of credible leadership selection and called on the political parties particularly the ruling APC to respect democratic values and allow the legislators choose leaders for themselves.