*Endorses Amaechi’s action in Rivers
*Says it can’t help Okorocha
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that it will push for consensus in the choice of National Assembly leadership so that election will be mere formality.
The party however restated its position that it would not allow the opposition to dictate the pace in the emergence of new leadership of National Assembly.
Addressing journalists on Wednesday at the national secretariat Abuja, the National Publicity of Secretary, Mallam Lanre Isa-Onilu, said notwithstanding the furore created by the endorsement of Senator Ahmed Lawan as the party’s candidate for the 9th Senate presidency, its hopes to reach out to members to ensure that there will be only one person to be put forward for each position.
Contrary to reports that the party may have zoned other positions including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Isa-Onilu said the ruling party was still at work trying to sort out details of the zoning for the remaining leadership positions in the National Assembly.
“It is not the party that will determine whether there will be election or not, and that’s what I said, but by the time we announce one person standing in with a clear majority on the floor and anybody say that I object to that then that person has to come up with a candidate and back it with his number. So there will be only one person being put forward and what do you have, a consensus,” he said.
On why the party decided to zone the Senate presidency to an individual rather than allowing the affected area to arrive at a consensus themselves, Isa-Onilu said the party in it’s own judgment believe that it will not only zone positions but that it will go as far as identifying who from a particular zone that is fit and proper as a Senate President.
On what APC intends to do to get its candidate through during National Assembly leadership election, the party’s spokesman said the party will read out names of its preferred candidates on the floor of both legislative chambers and urge members to ratify them.
“We don’t envisage a situation where two APC senators will stand as candidates for a position,” he said.
While clarifying the party’s position on the issue of sanctions for members found guilty of anti party activities, Isa-Onilu said the party did not bar any of its members from expressing their desire or opinion on the issues at stake but that as loyal party men, it expects them to show solidarity and respect for party supremacy and support any final position it takes.
Speaking on the suspension of Senator Kabiru Marafa by the Zamfara state chapter, Isa-Onilu said it is within the powers of the party executives at the ward level to do so.
On the refusal of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to issue certificate of return to the Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha, for the senatorial election, the party said it was constrained to intervene because the governor was on suspension.
However, when asked to state the party’s position regarding the decision of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to ask APC members to support African Action Congress (AAC) in the Rivers governorship election, he said the party did not view his action as anti party.
Isa-Onilu said: “I will emphatically say no because if you liken it to the situation in Imo and or Ogun states, it will be wrong. In Rivers state, APC does not have any candidate and as a party, Rivers state is very important to us. The state has been in the hands of pillagers for too long.
“If we have the opportunity of working with a party willing to abide by our principles, then it is within our right to work with such a party to ensure we free the people of Rivers state from the locusts”.