A senator-elect, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, has urged the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to open discussions with Senators Ali Ndume and Danjuma Goje and others with the view to assuaging their feelings.
Ndume and Goje have signified their intention to vie for the position of Senate President in the Ninth Senate, against Senator Ahmed Lawan who has been chosen for the position by the APC.
Adeyeye, who has been elected to represent Ekiti South senatorial district on the platform of the APC, said the interest of the party should supersede the interest of individual members.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Adeyeye, however, urged the leadership of APC to strike a balance between the interest of the party and the feelings of those who might not be favoured in the selection of process.
Adeyeye said, “It is a matter of give and take. I think the leadership of the party should do well to assuage the feelings of those who might not have been favoured in the selection process by inviting them and let them see reasons.
“The interest of the party is more important than individual interests. When we fight for and protect the collective interests, individual privileges and interests can still be met”.
Senator Ndume (Borno South) and Goje (Gombe Central) who hailed from the Northeast geopolitical zone as Lawan, have indicated interest in the race for Senate President, against the party’s choice of Lawan.
Adeyeye acknowledged the right of Ndume and Goje to aspire to be Senate President since they are members of the APC and more so when the position had been zoned to their geopolitical zone, adding that, “However, I think we can always find compromise”
He cautioned the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against fielding candidates for the President of the Senate and Deputy President of the Senate, saying doing so would negate the ethics and norms of parliamentary practice and procedure.
The first time senator, who was the spokesman for the PDP until December 2018, cited the example of the United States where the Republican Party, with only a slim majority over the Democrats, still controls the American parliament.
He said, “In America as we speak today, the Republicans are in the majority with three or four senators over the Democrats in the Senate and yet nobody in the minority party ever contemplated nominating any of their members to become the leader of majority.
“Because that will be against the ethics and the norms of parliamentary practice and procedure. After 20 years of democracy, we should start experimentation. By now we should start a proper culture, ethics and norms of the advanced democracy
“We should be able to do what the public expect should be the outcome of an election. Nigerians have given the APC majority of the seats in the Senate; they, therefore, expect the APC to control the Senate
“Nobody should, therefore, try to subvert the will of the people by trying to play any game or causing any division even among the majority party such that the will of the people, freely expressed at the polls, could be subverted.
“I do not expect any member of the PDP to come out and contest for leadership positions meant for the party with the majority seats on the day of inauguration of the Ninth National Assembly.
“All contestants on that day should be APC members. Since Nigerians deliberately voted for the APC to constitute the majority in the nation’s parliament with about 64 senators, the contest for the leadership positions should be within the APC.
“The PDP should not interfere in it. The opposition party should not produce any candidate and its members should not contest on that day.
“That is the practice in the advanced democracies. No minority party plays any game to take over the majority when it did not win the highest number of seats during the general elections.
“Even if the APC is presenting the three senators to contest for Senate President, I do not expect that the PDP will try to take advantage of the situation by sponsoring one of its members to contest the position.
“We don’t want such attitude in the Senate anymore. I think by now, we should have rules and develop proper democratic norms and values that would prevent us from doing what is not expected of us as a party and as members of a party”.
The senator-elect cautioned APC members contesting for the position of Senate President against picking a member of the opposition PDP as candidate for Deputy Senate President just to leverage on bloc votes expected from PDP senators.
“I do not expect a person contesting the seat of Senate President to make a member of the opposition party, his deputy in order to win the election. That would be a total betrayal. I expect that the party with the majority seats should produce the presiding officers and the principal officers meant for the ruling party.
“That has been the situation in Nigeria up till 2015 when we had the present aberration. It is high time we put a stop to such an unholy collaboration where we would have a Senate President from the ruling party having a deputy from the minority party.
“What is currently happening in the Eight Senate, temporarily halted the democratic tradition we were developing but we are trying to resuscitate it”, Adeyeye said.