The Governor of Ondo State and Chairman of the Southwest Governors’ Forum, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has rejected the proposed APC zoning formula for leadership positions in the upcoming National Assembly.
The APC had announced on Monday, May 8, 2023, that it had ratified the zoning formula put forth by President-elect Bola Tinubu.
According to the formula, Godswill Akpabio and Barau Jibrin were slated for the role of Senate President and Deputy Senate President, respectively, while Tajudeen Abbas and Ben Kalu were endorsed for Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively.
The arrangement, which shut out the North-central and Northeast zones from National Assembly leadership, has faced protests from those zones.
Governor Akeredolu has joined the opposition, calling the zoning formula a skewed arrangement that reinforces injustice and inequity.
The governor, via a statement on Wednesday, said: “It is with great concern, and indeed, with a huge burden that I read in the news of the purported zoning arrangement released by the National Working Committee of our Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) as regards the leadership positions in the yet-to-be inaugurated National Assembly.
“Aside the unpretentious ambiguity in the purported Press Statement issued by the leadership of the APC, the contents, intentions and motives of the zoning formula represent early signs of steps aimed at attempts to cabin the hard-earned Presidency for our Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu by a few individuals with eyes on ASO ROCK POWER BUTTONS.
“It is trite to aver, that, it stands logic on the head that one geo-political zone, Northwest in this regard, will be favoured with two presiding officers positions out of four while North Central suffers the consequences for its innocence and shrewd loyalty by having none.
“It is an insidious permutation that North East will be deprived in the face of the unsavoury generosity dispensed through two slots to a particular geo-political zone. It is self-repudiating for one to argue, therefore, that the Speaker of the House of Representatives cannot also emerge from the North East.
“Therefore, the move to zone the National Assembly leadership positions on the behest of interested personalities with perceived closeness to the President-elect manifestingly, lays the dangerous foundation of distrust, needless suspicion even as it structures nothing but a combination of booby traps. We must avoid all these.
“Let the North play a stronger, more robust and all-inclusive roles in the emergence of the positions zoned to the region, especially the Speakership.
“Furthermore, it strikes a huge ingratitude that the role of the Progressive Governors Forum appears unimportant. As leaders of the Party in their respective States, there cannot be a greater disservice to them that a consensus was yet to be reached when the NWC hurriedly released a dangerous tool for the opposition in the guise of a zoning formula. To me, even on this note, it’s unacceptable.
“Does it not also exude a serious discomfort that the aspirants to the Speakership were not consulted, approached and effectively engaged before the purported zoning formula? It does, and clearly so.
“It is in this regard that I salute the courage of the Speakership aspirants for their show of solidarity, companionship and applaudable love for the Party in their rejection, resentment and objection to the brazenly teleguided zoning arrangement that is skewed and targeted against some zones and identified individuals. Their action is commendable just as they are urged to ensure they pursue this to a logical conclusion. This is an unworkable arrangement that reinforces injustice and enhances inequity; and I join them in rejecting this zoning formula.
“I call on the NWC of our great Party to follow the path of purity and Justice. It is perhaps expedient that Mr. President-elect interrogates this skewed arrangement and give direction that reflects our collective commitment to equality and fairness.
“In this particular case, and for the purpose of avoiding a repeat of untoward situations, it is advised that the APC NWC immediately summons the National Executive Committee (NEC)after robust National Caucus/Stakeholders parley to agree on terms that would strengthen our great Party.”
Recall that the APC National Working Committee had ratified the zoning formula during a special meeting at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja on Monday.
Felix Morka, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, had announced the ratification to journalists after the meeting, reading from a prepared speech that the zoning formula was arrived at following a meeting between the party leadership and the president-elect.