The group, Forum of Former National Assembly Members of the South-South geopolitical zone have canvassed for the contest for the Senate Presidency which has been ceeded to their zone, be thrown opened for all the seven All Progressives Congress (APC) senators elect from the zone to slugg it out.

Of the seven senators elect from the Zone only Senator Akpabio is ranking, the rest including the former national party chairman of the APC Adams Oshiomhole are all first timers.

Oshiomhole happened to be one of the contenders for the race of the Senate Presidency before the party’s choice of Akpabio

The group stated this after kicking against the micro-zoning of the position of the Senate President to Godswill Akpabio.

Speaking on behalf of other 18 members, Anthony Halim Agoda said: “The Forum notes that it is the prerogative of Senators-elect of the National Assembly to choose their Presiding officers to wit: President of the Senate, Deputy President of the Senate, and other Principal Officers.

“The Forum further notes that unlike the House of Representatives where only ranking members can aspire to the Speakership and Deputy Speakership positions, all Senators-elect are qualified to contest for the offices of Senate President and Deputy Senate President.
“The Senate is composed of people with divers experiences, some of them have been governors, captains of industry, Bishops, Senior police officers, many of them have ecxperiencies everywhere.
“I think it is in that wisdom it is mandatory for anyone to be elevated to the senate, he must be above 35 years, it is not like that in the House of Reps.
“There is a presumption that if you are coming to the senate you are an experienced person, that means you have the capacity.
“In legal terms whatever that is not expressly included is expressly excluded that is why you have in the House of Reps it expressly included that you must be a ranking member with cognate experience to contest for the position of speaker or deputy speaker, that is expressly included.
“In the case of the Senate it is expressly excluded which means the game is opened that has been expressed in subsection 2(3)
They said though the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has zoned the position to their zone, there is an urgent need to review the stance and throw the contest open to all senators-elect from the South South.
“Now that it has been zoned to the South South there are people by their position in Life who can hold anything so it should be opened for all if any of them want to participate for the election of the Senate Presidency we will work for that person but not to be restricted to an individual
“We have also emphasized that this is the first time the APC is winning with substantial number of benchmark in the South South zone it has never happened before.
“So we believe that the South South zone has earned the right to produce the Senate President by virtue of the fact that our people rallied behind us and gave us a substantial number of senators and House of Res members.

“The National Working Committee did say that the zoning will be subjected to wider consultation for a better and wider, it is in furtherance of that better, further and wider consultation and consultation that has given birth to this event today.
“As Defenders and promoters of democracy we strongly believe that our role as former National Assembly members is to be able to pontificate from the position of strenght and experience that is why we have taken time to read the house rules so that the much needed illumination on this subject matter can be provided for Nigerians so that they understand how poarliarmnef works
According to him, the rancour and controversy that has visited the zoning in recent times is as a result of the micro zoning and “The party has come out to clearly specify that they are going into wider consultation and the bases of that we have no doubt that the party will come out with a meaningful zoning formula where opportunity would be given to any member of the senators elect who is qualified to contest from the South-South
“We are talking about nomination and the section that has been read to us is that that has to do with nomination
At the parliament it says you will nominate a member elect, they did no say a member elect that is ranking as stated.”

“For the avoidance of doubt and purpose of clarity, the Senate rules, Order 3 sule(3)(a) state as follows: The election of the President of the Senate shall be conducted in the following manner: a) ASenator-elect, addressing the Clerk, shall propose another Senator-elect to the Senate to be President of the Senate and shall move that such Senator-elect “Do take the Chair of the Senate as President of the Senate.” Another Senator-elect shall second the nomination. b) A Senator elect when nominated and seconded shall inform the Senate whether he or she accepts the nomination. He/She may then proceed to address the Senate,

“We further note the provision of Section 14 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended), which states: “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of {ts agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or any of its agencies”.

“In compliance with this Constitutional position, the country’s ethno-religious, cultural, and regional diversity and balance must be considered.

“In this context, the existing arrangement, whereby the office of the President of the Senate, the Deputy Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives are rotated between Northern and Southern Nigeria, be strictly adhered to.”

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