The Partners for Legislative Agenda for Nigeria (PLAN), a coalition of civil society and youth groups in Nigeria, has called for the broadening of the search for the Senate President in the North-east.
The body, which made the call at a press conference addressed by its Chairman, Mr. Charles Ibiang, in Abuja, said the search for a Senate President must be broadened to get for Nigeria, the very best, pointing out that the idea of a handpicked Senate President is as undemocratic as it is undesirable.
Ibiang said that the Senate must rise to the occasion and incumbent on it, on behalf of Nigerians who elected them, to choose a Senate President that can build bipartisan and nationalistic bridges, adding that such Senate President should be seen to contribute in stabilising the polity and bridging the unity gap.
The body said that it was shocked and disturbed that in order to impose a candidate, the name of President Muhammadu Buhari was being dragged into the agenda of a few, under the guise of the vague term “Presidency”.
According to the chairman, it must be clear that President Buhari has not shown any sign of supporting any project that undermines participatory democracy, adding that just recently, the president openly stated that the electorate in states where supplementary elections were held are wiser now, and should make their choices.
He also noted that during the All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries and contrary to APC National Working Committees’ threats, President Buhari encouraged aggrieved aspirants to approach the court for redress, and disagreed with the party on its undemocratic stand then.
He said in order to sustain political consensus, which is historical and very politically healthy, PLAN strongly supports the zoning of the Senate Presidency to the North-east.
It stressed that the body was concerned about the need to avoid the unnecessary rancorous politicking that led to the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki and the subsequent psychological and physical combat that followed.
“We are concerned about the need to avoid the unnecessary rancorous politicking that led to the emergence of Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki and the subsequent psychological and physical combat that followed. This issue as we all know, affected governance negatively.
“Our major intention is to create a harmonious executive-legislative relationship that will help the country achieve sound and effective governance,” Ibiang said.
According to him, PLAN commends the APC for rightly looking in the direction of the North-east as there are a number of experienced, exposed, versatile, cosmopolitan and broad-minded ranking senators from the zone.