Emmanuel Addeh and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
A former Governor of Zamfara State and Senator-elect representing Zamfara West, Abdulaziz Yari, yesterday, rejected the All Progressives Congress (APC) zoning arrangement for the incoming 10th senate, insisting that the party’s choice of candidates was not binding on the upper chamber.
Speaking on Arise News Channel’s breakfast programme, The Morning Show, Yari posited that the North deserved more stake in the Bola Tinubu administration set to be inaugurated on May 29, arguing that the region delivered over 60 per cent of the president-elect’s votes.
“I haven’t seen where in the constitution that says a Christian must be president or a Muslim must be president or vice president. If president-elect decides to do a Muslim-Muslim ticket, that is the business of the president and the executive. And if the parliamentary decides to do a Muslim-Muslim, it is the business of the parliament,” he maintained.
Yari contended that key positions in the incoming administration were already from the south, insisting that it was unfair for the APC to expect the North to be satisfied with just the vice presidency of the country.
The former Zamfara governor had recently doubled down on his criticism of the zoning arrangement of the APC for the leadership of the 10th national assembly, maintaining that it was wrong to handpick leaders for the lawmakers.
The APC had nominated Godswill Akpabio and Jibrin Barau as president of the senate and deputy senate president respectively, a development that has riled some other aspirants for key leadership positions in the Senate and House of Representatives.
Yari argued the APC’s zoning arrangement was not a product of wide consultation, positing that the implication was that all three arms of government would be controlled by the south of Nigeria.
“Right from the beginning, the party has had a tradition of widening the consultations, meeting with the president and all the members of the national assembly because it is not the party’s business but that of the country.
“But the party did not do any of the above, and what we saw in the media was that they had two meetings, and we were given names to adopt. That is not adequate.
“Because all of them are just advisory bodies, the constitution gives the right to choose national assembly leaders to only the parliamentarians. The party can zone, but it is left for the individual to accept or reject. APC has zoned and now we are asking them questions: On what basis? Have you taken into cognisance of the federal character?,” he asked.
The politician insisted that the constitution did not recognise Christianity or Islam as criteria for choosing the country’s leaders.
“The present Chief Justice of Nigeria is from Oyo State; Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the President-elect is from Lagos State, and Akpabio is from Akwa Ibom State at the same time. While the next Chief Justice of the Federation (Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun) is also going to be from the South-West.
“So, have you ever seen, let’s say since 1960, whether this kind of thing has happened during the Shagari era, coming to Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and Jonathan? It only happened during Buhari’s time slightly before CJN Onnoghen took over the Judiciary for some time.
“Now it happens that all the three arms of government are in the southern part of the country. How could that be fair to Northern Nigeria?” he queried.