Critics drawn from a coalition of civil society organisations under the auspices of Partners for Legislative Agenda for Nigeria (PLAN) has taken the All Progressives Congress to cleaners for insisting on Senator Ahmed Lawan as President of the Senate in the yet to be inaugurated ninth National Assembly.
The group, in its argument, noted that handpicking the Senate President in a legislative chamber having divergent views was undemocratic as it is undesirable.
Recall that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has put its foot down regarding the position of Senate President of the ninth National Assembly, maintaining that the choice of Senator Ahmed Lawan was already a foregone conclusion.
Lanre Issa-Onilu, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, had posited that while the party recognised the right of individual senators like former Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume, to run for the Senate Presidency, such right had been signed off to the party who exercised it in the interest of those who voted for it.
Although the development does not go down well with some elected members of the upper legislative chambers, Chairman of PLAN, Lord Ibiang, in Abuja, on Thursday, said the action might lead to the ugly antecedents that led to the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President in 2015.
He said that the country suffered in terms of quality laws owing to the endless friction between the executive and legislative for the better part of Buhari’s first term.
He said, “We sincerely commend the APC for looking in the direction of the Northeast. It is the right thing to do. But we equally disagree and warn against any attempt to impose a candidate.
“Yes, while it is imperative for a ruling political party to introduce a semblance of order and political stability in the leadership choice, historical antecedent has shown that imposition through influence peddling and invoking the name of the President had led to instability in leadership succession in the National Assembly in the past.
“There are a number of experienced, exposed, versatile, cosmopolitan and broad-minded ranking Senators from the Northeast. The search for a Senate President must be broadened to get for Nigeria, the very best. The idea of a handpicked Senate President is as undemocratic as it is undesirable.
“The Senate must rise to the occasion. It is incumbent on it, on behalf of Nigerians who elected them, to choose a Senate President that can build bipartisan and nationalistic bridges which would contribute in stabilising the polity and bridging the unity gap.”
“Therefore, the 9th Senate should go ahead and elect for itself, a Senate President that will work for it and for Nigerians. This position shall be communicated to all appropriate quarters, especially the senators-elect, President Muhammadu Buhari and all major political parties.”
Ibiang said that a harmonious executive-legislative relationship which would help the country achieve sound and effective governance is the desire of many Nigerians at this auspicious time.
He said, “The history of leadership of the National Assembly need to be placed in its proper perspective to reduce tension and help the leadership selection process in the 9th National Assembly. That is about setting the records straight!
“Our major intention is to create a harmonious executive-legislative relationship that will help the country achieve sound and effective governance.”