• Friday, September 29, 2023
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Yari rejects APC zoning arrangement, says religion doesn’t matter

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Abdulaziz Yari, former Zamfara State governor and senator-elect representing Zamfara-West senatorial constituency, has rejected the zoning arrangement of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which zoned the senate presidency to Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom state.

Yari, who appeared on Arise Television’s “The Morning Show” on Tuesday, faulted the party’s arrangement, which zoned the senate president position to Akpabio without, according to him, taking into consideration the need for ethnic and regional balance and especially rewarding the geopolitical zone (Northwest), which gave the president-elect the most votes.

“Let me say right from the beginning that the party has a tradition of widening the consultation and meeting with the president, calling the whole members of the elected at the House of Representatives and the Senate,” Yari said.

He was not pleased with the refusal of the party’s national leaders to consult widely on the issue of choosing key leaders to lead the 10th Assembly of the National Assembly.

“Therefore the party did not do with any of the above—what we only saw in the media is that the party has chosen and has given names to adopt. That is not adequate enough, despite the fact that they have said they are not consulting widely and are looking forward to doing one or two things—it doesn’t matter.

Read also: 10th NASS: Sanwo-Olu, Abass say zoning of positions will unite Nigeria

“My position is that they are an advisory body because the constitution has made it clear to say that Section 50 (1) gives rights only to parliamentarians on that day, and they have only one business to take their leaders. Therefore, any party zoning is not part of our arrangement; it is not in our constitution,” he explained.

He agreed that political parties can choose individuals in the parliament to lead the legislature, but it is not binding on all, irrespective of their political differences, to accept such leadership.

“It is not binding to accept this arrangement,” he said.

“If APC decides to zone, we will ask them questions—like, what do you base your zoning on?” He asked. “Are you taking the federal character into cognizance where the president, the chief judge of federation, and the national assembly chairman, three arms, are in one place for a decade?”

“The present chief justice of the federation is from Oyo state, and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed, president-elect, is from Lagos state, and Akpabio is from Akwa Ibom state at the same time. and the next chief justice of Nigeria is going to be from the south-west in a couple of months.

“So have you ever seen since the return of democracy in 1960 whether this kind of thing happened during Shagari, Obasanjo, Yaradua, or Jonathan?” he went on saying.

He noted that the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had indeed violated this federal character, but “later Onnoghen came and took over.”

“So it happened that all these three arms are in the southern part of the country; how can this be fair? There are many issues that need to be understood and seen so that they can be corrected,” he said.

On the concerns of religious insensitivity raised by some Nigerians, Yari said, “I have not seen anywhere in the constitution where a Christian must be president or a Muslim must be president, and vice versa.”

He insisted that the constitution does not even recognise Christianity or Islam but only the right to religion. He added that the constitution doesn’t recognise religion as a criteria for choosing the country’s leaders.

He rejected the outcry of many who insist on balancing the religious divide in the national assembly, making reference to a time when Christians dominated the leadership of the house. ” All because there were times when the parliament decided to take a Christian as senate president and a Christian as speaker. So therefore, that question is not in line with what we are talking about.

“We are even saying to APC that it is northern Nigeria that gave you the largest votes and, by extension, the northwest that came to give you the lead,” he added.