Holes In Akeredolu’s Criticism of APC Zoning Formula
By Biola Ajanaku
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State set tongues wagging on Wednesday, May 10, 2023 following the viral statement he personally signed in which he severely criticised the proposed zoning formula for the 10th National Assembly leadership positions by the National Working Committee of the APC.
Aketi had described the proposed zoning as unworkable arrangement that reinforces injustice and enhances inequality. The Chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum is undoubtedly entitled to express his personal opinion on the NASS leadership issue. Akeredolu is equally at liberty to vent his displeasure if he perceives that the zoning arrangement has indeed been skewed in favour of a particular geopolitical zone.
Nevertheless, facts of the criticism voyage embarked upon by Governor Akeredolu ought to be clearly dissected and analysed to underscore the intentions. This analysis will also help bring to the fore the patriotic leaning of the Ondo State governor or otherwise. After all, he that must come to equity is expected to do so with completely clean hand.
Inasmuch as justice, equity and fairness are quite important in national politics, they are also expected to get featured essentially in state politics as well. One wonders if Aketi never thought of justice, equally and fairness when he appointed his biological son, Babajide Akeredolu as the Director General of Ondo State PPIMU.
One continue to wonder if Aketi was not aware that Owo Local Government Area where he hails from was not the only Local Government in Ondo State at the time he willfully sacrificed justice, equity and fairness on the alter of clannish patronage. Worse still, was the appointment of his biological son into such a strategic position in the Ondo State Executive Council even when the son in question practically had no requisite work experience at the time of the appointment. It is very doubtable if Governor Akeredolu is in a position to preach or even advocate for justice, equity and fairness.
To the issues raised by Governor Akeredolu in his statement
on the 10th National Assembly zoning formula; body language of the Sunshine State Governor could be easily interpreted. Also, motive behind the body language of Aketi
could equally be easily deduced. This may have largely informed the reason why he is now the spokes person for the North Central region of the country. It is a public knowledge that Aketi is favourably disposed to the speakership aspiration of the incumbent Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase.
It is however a fact that the North Central geopolitical zone has been left out by APC NWC in its recommendations for 10th National Assembly leadership positions. Negotiations and dialogue would have been better strategies by the people of North Central geopolitical zone as well as their supporters rather than the present grandstanding demand. Come to think of it, performance of the North West geo-political zone in the presidential election may have informed the decision of APC NWC to zone the speakership position to Kaduna State.
Meanwhile, this is not to say that the people of North Central geo-political region do not deserve representation in the leadership of of 10th National Assembly. This is just as the North West region too equally deserves representation in the same leadership of the 10th National Assembly. Sincerely, conceding the speakership position of the House of Representatives to the North West as recommended by the APC NWC was not in any way out place. After all, the zone delivered huge votes for the APC during the February 25 presidential election.
As a way forward, the NEC and NWC of the APC must do everything that is humanly possible to avoid a repeat of the 2015 National Assembly leadership saga. Bola Tinubu cannot afford not to have input in the choices of leadership of the 10th National Assembly. For this reason, the party must put its house in order and block all identified and perceived loopholes. The party must also look for a way to accommodate the interest of the North Central by possibly zoning the position of Deputy Senate President to the region.
As things stand now, the APC and more importantly the President-elect cannot afford to start the new administration on a note of crisis. Whatever that needs to be done to bring all elected National Assembly members on APC platforms to the same page must be done without delay. The APC NWC should also ensure that party supremacy is given a place of pride. It should be made very clear that interest of the party supersedes that of any member and not the order way round.
One can of course easily deduce from the statement of Aketi that the APC NWC is disposed towards compensating Governor El-Rufai with the speakership position of the House of Representatives. In reality, there is nothing wrong in compensating the Kaduna State Governor with the endorsement of Hon. Abass Tajudeen to become the Speaker of 10th House of Representatives.
Most Nigerians and indeed majority of APC members were witnesses to the roles played by Governor El-Rufai in making the Northern Governors Forum buy into the idea of power shift to the south. Even when the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele decided to create artificial shortage of naira in the country, same El-Rufai led the legal challenge against the federal government and CBN on the extremely harsh policies of Naira redesign and cashless policy at the Supreme Court. The battle was indeed fought and won and this has since then brought huge relief to all Nigerians. Notwithstanding the sad reality that APC lost the presidential election in Kaduna State, the highly cerebral governor actually did all within his powers to ensure the victory of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
If merit is to be considered in the choice of Abass Tajudeen for the
speakership position of the House of Representatives, then the APC NWC could be said to have made a very good choice. The vastly experienced and highly cerebral 59 year-old Abass Tajudeen is a Doctorate degree holder in Business Management and he did bag the Ph.D in year 2010 from Usman Danfodio University in Sokoto.
The Iyan Zazzau is definitely an outstanding lawmaker who has
blazed the trail of legislative business in all respects at the Green Legislative Chamber. Tajudeen has manifestly distinguished himself as a man of unblemished integrity and also as the only federal lawmaker from the North-West region to have unprecedentedly sponsored 74 bills.
He also stands out as a man that is most suitable in character, experience and academic qualifications to preside over the affairs of the House of Representatives. Above all, The highly resourceful Kaduna born Abass Tajudeen possesses all the needed qualities to be the next speaker of the 10th Assembly. This is also in addition to the fact that he has seamlessly earned the love and respect of majority of his colleagues in the federal legislative House.