Socio-political group, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has urged the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to zone the position of Senate President to the South-South geopolitical zone in the interest of equity and fairness.
In a statement by the group’s spokesman, Ken Robinson, PANDEF said it is only “proper” for the ruling party which has a majority of Senators-elect, to zone the highly coveted position to the South-South zone.
The APC won majority of the legislative seats during the elections with over 55 Senate seats out of 109 and over 160 out of 360 House of Representatives seats.
Many APC chieftains and legislative member-elect have expressed interest in the highly coveted positions in the red and green chambers. They include Orji Kalu, Jibrin Barau, Godswill Akpabio, Dave Umahi, Ahmad Lawan, Ali Ndume, Abdulaziz Yari, Osita Izunaso, amongst others.
The party is expected to release its zoning formula after the Ramadan fast, according to Senate Spokesperson, Ajibola Bashiru.
PANDEF, which is led by elder statesman, Pa Edwin Clark, argued that the last time someone from the present South-South States occupied the office of Senate President was during the 2nd Republic (1979/1983), when the late Senator Joseph Wayas, from Cross River State, was elected, first in October 1979, and, again, in October 1983, before that Republic was truncated on 31st December 1983.
“In the present dispensation, since 1999, the South-South Zone has not had a turn in the Office of the Senate President. The Region has had stints at the lower levels of Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, between 1999 and 2007, under the Rt. Hon. Chibudom Nwuche, and the Rt. Hon. Austin Opara, both from Rivers State. Currently, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, from Delta State, is Deputy Senate President.
“Ostensibly, the South-South Zone has an unassailable reason to step up to the Senate Presidency, after twenty-four years of our current Democratic experience. No contrary arguments can stand against this South-South position.”
The group said the APC leadership cannot be entirely unmindful of the fact that a Muslim Senate President would bring further imperilment to national order, affecting the sorely desired overall stability.
“PANDEF, therefore, implores the President-elect, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, along with other key stakeholders of the APC, and, indeed, all Senators-elect of all parties, and the party hierarchies, to support the ceding of the incoming Senate Presidency to the South South zone. This is, unarguably, the fair and proper thing to do, at this time of our Country’s political progression,” the statement partly read.