Abdulaziz Yari will give the Senate a purposeful leadership, reckons Kabir Akintayo
After the intense political battle of the 2023 general elections, the nation’s attention has now shifted to the National Assembly. With Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila apparently out of the race, contenders have begun jostling to replace them.
The National Working Committee of the ruling APC had reeled out its zoning formula and anointed their preferred candidates for the President and Deputy President of the Senate and Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
At least six senators are running for the seat of the President of the 10th Senate. The contestants are from four of the nation’s six geo-political zones: the North-west, South-east, South-south and North-central.
As we inch towards the transition, the politicking rages on. Political opinions and considerations may vary, and the assessment of an individual’s suitability for such a position is subjective and can be influenced by diverse factors, including political affiliations and personal perspectives, the fact remains that Yari is the best among the hexad.
The choice of the Number three citizen should not be compromised at the altar of executive meddlesomeness. Whoever is familiar with National Assembly politics knows that imposition does not stand. Obasanjo’s imposition of Evan Enwerem as President of the Senate did not last more than five months. Jonathan’s attempts to impose Mulikat Adeola-Akande as Speaker of the House of Representatives failed, due largely to Tinubu’s handiwork as leader of the then opposition ACN. Buhari’s attempt to impose Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila in 2015 also failed. The duo later succeeded in 2019 not because they were imposed but because the lawmakers accepted them.
While not underrating the qualification of Godswill Akpabio, Barau Jibrin, Sani Musa and Orji Kalu, former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari’s pedigree in terms of political and administrative experience and capacity displaces that of all the other candidates. Yari as a former party chairman, former member of the House of Representatives and former governor, has seen both sides of legislative and executive coins.
Yari’s interest in becoming the next Senate President is a game changer not only in the permutations surrounding the aspiration for the Senate President’s seat but also in the promise of what his leadership of the Senate as number three citizen portends.
Abdulaziz Yari, a rounded political heavyweight of character and competence comes with that promise to give the Senate a purposeful leadership.
Yari’s political trajectory is replete with notable successes and significant contributions in their respective contexts. His infrastructural development initiative in Zamfara including roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and rural electrification are aimed at improving the State’s socio-economic development, his educational strides initiated policies that enhanced access to quality education in the state as he established new schools and renovated existing one, his agricultural programs encouraged drives to boost good production and improve livelihood in rural areas.
Yari’s aspiration reminds me of Thomas P O’Neill who served as speaker of the United States House of representative from 1977 to 1987. He was widely respected for his ability to build consensus, negotiate across party lines and pass significant legislation. His Leadership style emphasised finding common ground and working collaboratively to achieve legislative goals.
Like O’Neill, Yari is poised to demonstrate exceptional leadership skills in mobilising the country and its legislature to face the challenges of Nigeria’s “Renewed Hope” of the incoming government of Bola Ahmed Tinubu with the aim of bringing about political stability and social transformation.
His experience will help in shaping significant legislation and fostering a more cooperative atmosphere between the executive, judiciary and legislative arms of government.
Ultimately, the decision regarding who becomes the Senate President rests with the legislators themselves and the political dynamics within the legislative body. It involves consultations, negotiations, and voting among the members of the Senate to determine their preferred candidate for the position.
As we root for his emergence, we are certain that Yari as Nigeria’s next Senate President is no doubt a game changer with midas touch!
Akintayo, a political affairs analyst, writes from Abuja