By North Central Leaders of Thought
Let us begin by taking this opportunity to congratulate the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its leadership for the successes it recorded at the just-concluded general elections. We would also want to congratulate the President elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, for his well-deserved victory at the polls. We must not forget to also particularly congratulate the Senators elect from both the APC and PDP for their elections into the Upper Chamber of Legislature as Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The next few weeks will witness crucial negotiations in the bid to arrive at the election of principal officers of both Chambers of the National Assembly when it is inaugurated on the 8th of June, 2015.
We as leaders of the North Central Zone, comprising, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Kwara, Niger and Plateau states are particularly interested in the position of the Senate President. We have no doubt at all that the leadership of the party will zone this crucial position to our zone to allow for the necessary stability, political harmony, justice and fair play in the polity of our country. We are not unmindful of the fact that during the 7th Session of the Senate our Zone had the opportunity to occupy this position. However, the political exigencies of today have again invited the senate to invoke the “Doctrine of necessity”, which makes it most desirable for this position to be retained by our zone. Perhaps one of the most fragile issues confronting Nigeria today is that of equity in the sharing of political offices. We are aware that the application of this “Doctrine of Necessity” would not have come up if the majority party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) had secured a ranking Senator in the South East or South- South from the just concluded elections.
The equity and fair play we are talking about is that of representation of ethnic and religious groups in the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As it is well known, these ethnic minorities and Christians largely exist in the South East, South -South, South –West and the North Central zones. In the incoming administration, the President- elect is from the North- West, while the Chief Justice of the Federation is from North- East, the remaining arm of government, the National Assembly which is led by the Senate President must therefore be headed by someone of ethnic minority group from the North Central zone. Thus we are delighted to present to the Senators, one who meets these conditions and much more; Senator George Akume who is Tiv by tribe and a Christian from Benue State.
Senator Dr George Akume, a graduate of University of Ibadan, started his career as an Administrative Officer with the Benue State government and rose to the rank of Permanent Secretary. He was elected Governor of Benue state in 1999 for two terms before he became a Senator representing Benue North –West Zone from 2007 till date. He is a man of great humility, a keen listener and a consensus builder. These are sterling qualities that he needs to deploy among his colleagues in the Senate as President in order to work harmoniously with the President, General Muhammadu Buhari. George Akume will approach the job of Senate President with focus and purposefulness. He will maintain a warm approach to all his colleagues but will be firm in his duty as he will regard himself as first among equals with other Senators. While Senator George Akume is seeking this position on the platform of his party the APC, he maintains deepest respect for his colleagues in the PDP and will work assiduously to ensure harmony in the National Assembly. As Minority Leader at the 7th Senate, Akume led the various parties in the Senate harmoniously for 4 years during which time the APC has metamorphosed from minority to majority status.
It is a well known legislative practice all over the world that the minority leader who is the shadow Senate President should become the Senate President automatically. It goes without saying therefore that Hon. Femi Hakeem Gbajabiamiala who is the shadow Speaker of the House of Representatives becomes the Speaker. This takes care of the ethno religious balancing that is required to put Nigeria on a stable footing. Senator Dr George Akume has always demonstrated his respect for Principal Officers of the current Senate particularly the Senate President, Distinguished Senator David Mark, who he regards as his brother and whose steps he will closely follow to avoid the “Banana Peels” on the floor of the 8th Assembly. While we use this opportunity to congratulate all Senators-elect from the six states of the North Central Zone for their well-deserved victory, we urge them not to rest on their oars until victory comes to their zone.
Being an address by Leaders of Thought from the North Central Zone in support of Senator George Akume for the position of Senate President.