Sunday Aborisade in Abuja
The North Central People’s Forum (NCPF) on Thursday commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for appointing Senator George Akume as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
It however declared that his appointment is not enough to pacify the geopolitical zone going by the massive support they gave Tinubu in the last presidential election.
NCPF said: “We are grateful with the position of the SGF but with the quantum of votes given to President Tinubu in the last election, someone from the North-central should be given the office of the deputy Senate President.”
The group added that the portfolio of the FCT Minister should also be given to someone from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the first time since the constitution says FCT should be treated as a state.
The National Publicity Secretary of the group, Hon. Audu Sule, made the demands in a statement on Thursday.
Sule said he was speaking on behalf of the forum, the people of the North-central — Abuja, Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Niger, Nasarawa and Kwara States — adding that one of them should be appointed the FCT minister.
He said: “First of all, we thank Mr President for appointing one of our sons, fathers and brothers as the SGF.
“We want to particularly congratulate Senator George Akume for the appointment because he is eminently qualified.
“But that is not enough to pacify us. If you look at the vote the APC pulled in North-central it was massive.
“We were able to lead in all the states except for Plateau and FCT that went to the Labour Party.
“We want the office of the Deputy Senate President to be in the North-central. That is the office we have not occupied.
“In the past military government, the appointed minister of FCT was from the North-central. That’s what we want from the present administration.
“Also, if you check in the previous government, the North-east had a Senate President and the SGF.
“So, we want the office of the Deputy Senate President. It will be good for the North-central to get it because out of the seven states, we gave five to the APC.
“We are also calling for the North-central states to be considered for the office of the FCT minister because the people understand the area very well.
“Also the FCT should be given a ministerial appointment.
“We thank Mr President for appointing our son, George Akume for attaining that position.”
Similarly, the All Progressives Congress (APC) stakeholders forum in a statement, described as unfair, the exclusion of the North-central geopolitical zone from the zoning arrangement of the principal officers of the National Assembly.
The forum’s National Coordinator, Rev Dominic Alancha, insisted that there was the need by the leadership of the party to address the issue before the inauguration of the National Assembly next week.
The group maintained that the North-central zone cannot be swayed by the decision of President Tinubu to appoint the former Governor of Benue State, to drop the clamour for equitable treatment in the distribution of the principal office positions of the National Assembly.
The forum applauded the decision by the G6 group of aggrieved speakership aspirants, who have come together under one umbrella to resist the attempt at the imposition of what it termed “an unpopular candidate” as the next speaker of the House of Representatives.
They urged Senator Sani Musa, who is among the aspirants for the Senate President to remain strong in the race to defend the interest of the North-central region.
Part of the statement read: “Zoning the position of Senate President in the 10th Assembly to the South-south geopolitical zone, and the position of Deputy Senate President to the North-west zone while the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives is also zoned to the North-west and the position of Deputy Speaker to the South-east is unacceptable because it excludes the North-central from parliamentary leadership.”
Also in another statement, the APC North Central Patriots has threatened that the region may not support the party in 2027 if the zoning arrangement of the 10th National Assembly is not reviewed.
The Convener, Amos John, gave the warning in a statement in Abuja.
He maintained that the positions of Deputy Senate President and Speaker cannot be zoned to the North-west when the North-central has not been given anything.
He insisted that the region cannot be totally excluded from the zoning arrangement.
The group, therefore, demanded that the four principal positions in the National Assembly are shared among the zones other than the zones the president and vice-president hail from.
The statement read: “The agitation today was because of the total exclusion of North-central. It is an aberration and unacceptable.
“If our people feel shortchanged, do you think our people will support the party in 2027? It is unfortunate that our governors are nowhere to speak, the region is looking up to them. We are telling them the feelings of our people.”
The group described as inexplicable and biased the decision of the APC to introduce strange and obtuse arrangements where a whole geopolitical zone was sidelined while another was given two key positions in the National Assembly hierarchy.
The group said it cannot fold its arms and do nothing when a situation that could lead to social cataclysm was being introduced.