The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has warned President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, not to interfere in the leadership of the 10th National Assembly (NASS).
Naija News reports that there is a division among lawmakers and top chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the leadership of the 10th NASS.
The leadership of the APC, with Tinubu’s backing, are said to have endorsed Senator Godswill Akpabio and three others for the principal positions in the National Assembly.
The ruling party endorsed Senator Akpabio from South-South for Senate President, Senator Jubrin Barau from the North-west for Deputy Senate President, Tajudeen Abass from the North-west for Speaker, House of Representatives and Hon. Ben Kalu, South-East for Deputy Speaker.
Some lawmakers, however, are pushing for the likes of Senator Abdulaziz Yari, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, Senator Osita Izunaso, Senator Sani Musa, Deputy Speaker Idris Wase, Hon Aliyu Betara, and many others to occupy the key positions in the 10th National Assembly.
Speaking, however, during an interview on Channels Television programme, the spokesperson of the NEF, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said the Northern Elders Forum are against President Tinubu interfering with the leadership tussle in the National Assembly because imposing leaders on the legislators was “not in his best interest.”
Baba-Ahmed said: “We believe that the National Assembly should be respected enough to be allowed members of the National Assembly to choose their leaders, Nigerians elected them, and from this point on they should be trusted to exercise the judgement of what is right for the country and for the legislature, independence of the legislature is absolutely crucial, it should not be compromised in any way or form.
“We believe that legislators are people who are responsible, voted for, a legislature is an extremely important organ of government the executive has no business dictating to them who they choose to be their leaders; we believe they should be independent.”
The NEF insisted they disagree with any arrangement that tells an elected representative who to choose and not to choose, stressing that the lawmakers should be allowed to make consultation and decide who they want.
It said: “They should respect their parties but ultimately they exercise responsibilities that the party itself cannot intervene in, shouldn’t intervene in and its dangerous for democracy for the party to go to the length it goes to tell legislators who has been elected by their constituencies, not by their parties. Their parties filled them there but they were elected by the people.
“All we are asking for is to allow them to choose. Don’t be calling them like small boys and be telling them the party giving them formula, the president telling them this is the way I want things done they will not tell you what to do; that’s not constitutional.
“Legislators should be allowed to decide where their positions go that’s the argument I have made. I haven’t made an argument saying it must go to the north; I have said there are other elements that need to be considered; if the decision is made freely and fairly by the legislators, it can go the south, we will live with it, it can go to the north we will deal with it.
“But we believed that it should be made by those who are going to be led.”
Baba-Ahmed reiterated that it was not in the interest of President Tinubu to impose leadership on the legislators, saying: “In fact, the farther that he is away from the tussle of who becomes senate president, the better.”