APC: ZONING ON A SHAKY FOOTING By Tony Ademiluyi

APCAfter the euphoria of the celebrations and the making of history, it is time to get to the serious business of the sharing of the spoils of office. The APC decided to zone the Senate Presidency to the North Central to fulfill the spirit of the 1999 constitution that allows for this practice in the name of federal character. This is a wrong move that does not take into critical consideration the need to balance the political power equation in the country. In the defunct third republic, the zone had two senate presidents in the persons of Dr. Iyorchia Ayu and Ameh Ebute after the former was impeached. The zone still produced David Mark who has the distinction of being the longest serving senate president. Incidentally, they all hail from Benue state.

The names currently being bandied are George Akume and Bukola Saraki. It won’t be fair for Benue to have another shot at the third most important office in the clime after three indigenes have had their fair share. Saraki is a Yoruba even though he is from the North-Central. In the spirit of fairness, it would be most unfair since the Vice-President; Professor Yemi Osinbajo is also a Yoruba man. Moreover, Saraki still has a grave question to answer over his role in the questionable collapse of Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria where depositors woke up on a bright morning in 2003 to discover that their life savings had vanished into thin air. If the incoming administration is desirous of tackling the hydra-headed monster of corruption, this gargantuan moral burden of Saraki must be taken into serious consideration.

The North-East should have gotten the Senate Presidency slot if the leaders of the new party in power have any ounce of fair play. The zone is the poorest in the country and among the most impoverished regions on planet earth according to the United Nations Human Development Index. They have been the most hit from the boko haram insurgency which has greatly threatened the peace and well-being of the people of Adamawa, Taraba and especially Borno. The postponement of the elections was as a result of the challenges the people of that region face. Despite all these, the zone gave the party the second highest votes in the last elections after the North-West. It is only fair that the leadership of the upper echelon of the legislature should be given to them to integrate them into the mainstream of things. The Deputy Senate Presidency given to them will limit their effectiveness in the scheme of things and there will still be the tinge of marginalization which this new government cannot afford to risk in the face of the challenges the North-East zone is currently grappling with.

The South-West was denied the Speakership of the Federal House of Representatives in 2011 when the current speaker, Aminu Tambuwwal contested for the post against the zoning of the Peoples Democratic Party. This left the zone completely annihilated in the scheme of things in the legislature. The Deputy Senate Presidency and Deputy Speakership of the House went to the South East leaving the west to lick their wounds despite the overwhelming votes the zone gave to the PDP, sweeping the entire region with the exception of Osun state. It is only fair that the west gets the speakership as a compensation for the gross injustice it suffered four years ago. It is true that it has the vice-presidency but it is only fair that it is greatly compensated for being the zone that delivered the south for Buhari. Femi Gbajabiamila, whose name is being bandied about as the possible successor to Tambuwwal is a man of integrity in addition to possessing a first rate intellect which he has brought to bear in law making since 2003. He turned down the national honour of the Officer of the Federal Republic because he honestly felt he was not deserving of the prestigious honour yet. What a gargantuan show of humility! How many of his contemporaries can display such in an era of a crass race for the acquisition of titles deserving or not?

The magnanimity in conceding the post of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to the South East is highly commendable as that has whittled down the winner take all mentality that has tragically bedeviled out pristine politics. All is fair in love and war goes the old aphorism and politics is no exception. Without sounding tribalistic, the Igbos are not the best examples of a tribe that is accommodating. Go to Alaba or Ladipo market in the supposedly cosmopolitan Lagos and see if you can set up an electronics or spare parts shop as a non-Igbo and see if you will live to tell the tale. If the APC leaders were vindictive, the highest post in the executive after the President and his Vice wouldn’t have gone to them. Politics without bitterness as espoused by the late Waziri Ibrahim is clearly at play here. Our nation is truly evolving in the positive sense.

The APC leaders should reconsider their zoning stance once more and we wish the Buhari/Osinbajo administration well.