12th June, 2011
Â The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has denied published reports alleging a crisis in choosing minority leaders in the Senate, saying the sponsors of such stories are mortally afraid of the emerging robust opposition in the upper legislative chamber.
”The so-called crisis exists only in the jaundiced imagination of unpatriotic elements within and outside the Senate who cannot fathom the cohesion among the various opposition Senators in the chamber, and stories on such disagreements should be taken with a pinch of salt,” the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday.
”Those who will occupy the various posts have been chosen unanimously by the Senate minority caucus, at a fruitful and friendly meeting, and no one who craves peace and harmony in the Seventh Senate dares reject such leaders, as has been insinuated by those sponsoring such negative stories,” it said.A
CN explained that the minority parties in the Senate met in Abuja on June 8th to agree on the distribution of the positions as follows: ACN with 18 Senators (Minority Leader and Minority Whip); ANPP with 7 Senators (Deputy Minority Leader); CPC with 7 Senators (Deputy Minority Whip), while LP with 4 Senators, as well as APGA and DPP with 1 Senator each, are to be given special consideration when committees are to be constituted.
Following the agreement, the parties were asked to bring their nominees, who were unanimously approved by the minority caucus as follows: ACN (Senator George Akume as Minority Leader and Senator Ganiyu Solomon as Minority Whip); ANPP (Senator Ahmed Yerima as Deputy Minority Leader) and CPC (Senator Abu Ibrahim as Deputy Minority Whip).”The sharing of the leadership positions assigned to the minority parties were based on the agreement reached by the parties at the June 8th meeting.
There was no imposition of any candidate as being erroneously put out there by the sponsors of the crisis stories,”the party said, adding that with the choice of Senator Akume as Minority Leader, the ACN has disappointed those who want the party to fall into the trap of being a regional party.
It said those who claimed that Senator Akume would not be acceptable to the whole Senate, allegedly because Senate President David Mark is from Benue State like Senator Akume, do not know what they are saying.”In the first instance, it is not the business of the majority party to choose minority leaders.
The rules are clear: the full houses of the National Assembly will choose the Senate President and House Speaker, but it is not the business of the full houses to choose the majority leaderor the minority leader.”If the PDP is having sleepless nights because the President of the Senate and the Minority leader have come from the same state, the party can go ahead and do what it does best: Zone the Senate Presidency away from Benue.
After all, the PDP has re-zoned the country’s presidencyto the South-South and the House of Representatives Speaker to the North-West.”In any case, the fact that the Senate President and the Minority Leader are from the same state is not anymore a cause for worry than the fact that the Vice President of the country as well as the Speaker of the House of Representatives are both from the North-West.”
Anyone who does not wish the Seventh National Assembly to be ungovernable should not dream of rejecting the Minority Leaders, who were unanimously chosen by the Minority parties,” ACN warned.