Ex-Minister Canvasses Zoning Senate Presidency to N’central

Sunday Aborisade in Abuja

A former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Abubakar Bwari, has urged the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to zone the position of the Senate President in the 10th National Assembly to the North-central geopolitical zone.

He said such arrangement would help the incoming administration to address the issues of insecurity, poor infrastructure and other forms of economic sabotage bedevilling the region.

Bwari, who was also the Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, stated this in an interview with journalists in Abuja Wednesday.

He noted that the North-central has abundant arable land for agricultural development and is also endowed with rich mineral resources that could serve as alternatives to oil and gas resources, if effectively explored.

The erstwhile Mines and Steel Minister, however, lamented that bandits had stopped farmers from their farms, fishing ponds and took over mining sites and preventing access to investors.

He expressed the hope that there would be a positive change in the region if the APC leadership and the president-elect support the aspiration of the North-central to produce the next Senate President.

Bwari said: “Following the conclusion of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, two very important positions have gone to the South-west and North-east geopolitical zones. 

“The president and vice-president elect have been elected from those zones. 

Other zones are now clamouring for the third most important position in the country, that is the Senate Presidency. 

“If we look at performance, the North-central did very well for the All Progressives Congress in the last election.  We produced very significant votes for the president-elect and the vice-resident-elect. 

“If you consider our strategic location and performance, if we didn’t get number one or number two positions, we should be given number three. 

“I think our aspiration is fair and just for us to be considered. Our strategic position in balancing a lot of things in the country put the North-central in the best position to produce the presiding officer of the Senate.”

Asked how a Senate President from the North-central would be beneficial to the country, Bwari said the issue of insecurity would be the priority of the red chamber.

He explained that the Committees on Defence, National Security and Police Affairs in the Senate would be put on their toes to carry out necessary oversight functions to make sure that the military and the security agencies are alive to their responsibilities.

“The Senate President from the North-central would use his experiences and that of his constituents in the hands of bandits and terrorists to proffer practicable solutions  to the menace. 

“This is because legislative intervention will go a long way to support the military and other security agencies to go about finding pragmatic and practicable solution to the insecurity crisis from the point of view of the direct victims. 

“For instance, Senator Sani Musa, who is seeking to be elected as the Senate President, has gathered enough information and solutions to the menace and he would need an avenue to be able to carry them out if he is directly in charge of the Senate.

“Since he played active roles in the 9th National Assembly, he would be able to look at the issues surrounding the recruitment, rewards and punishment system in the military and other security agencies. 

“He will ask the relevant committees to look into whether the required monies meant to tackle insecurity were actually released and disbursed appropriately. 

“Particularly, he will look at the money appropriated and whether they were used for the purpose they were appropriated. As the 10th Senate President, he would ensure that all these are done through his committees,” he said.

Bwari described Sani as “a team player, very accommodating man with a high degree of tolerance”.

“He is hardworking and had contributed to the APC right from 2014 to date, especially during the campaigns and periods of elections that were held.

“Someone with these qualities should be given a bigger role to play in the incoming administration,” he added.

The former minister said the major issues confronting the North-central  at the moment is that of insecurity.

According to him, “Insecurity is slowing down all forms of economic activities in the region. Our people are much more agrarian in nature. 

“When the issue of insecurity is effectively tackled, our people would be able to return to farms and those who are hunters would also be able to carry out their activities.

“Those who are into fishing would also resume their trade in full force. They would also be free to go to markets and carry out their normal businesses. 

“Tackling insecurity in North-central will help a lot in addressing all the social and economic challenges that we are having in the country. Most mining activities take place  in Niger State.

“Another major challenge we are having in the North-central is that of infrastructure, especially roads. 

“Our roads in the North-central are bad especially in Niger State. The general issue of healthcare, education, water and sanitation are areas that should also be addressed in the North-central.

“That is why we desire the number three position in the country in North-central in order to tackle the dreaded monsters known as bandits.”

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