A pro-democracy group under the aegis of The Natives on Thursday pleaded with former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, to step down for the joint ticket of the immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio and popular Kano legislator, Senator Jibrin Barau, in the interest of the country.
The appeal is coming four days before the election of principal officers for the 10th National Assembly.
The APC had micro-zoned the position of Senate President to Akpabio while Barau was favoured for the Deputy Senate President seat.
The arrangement had sparked outrage from other aspirants in the race, including Yari, who threatened to revolt by disobeying the party position if the zoning formula is not reviewed.
Among other things, they argued that the party leadership failed in its duty to consult them before making the pronouncement.
Addressing a world press conference in Abuja on Thursday, Convener of The Natives, Smart Edward, argued that for the sake of equity and fairness, only a Christian and a unifier like Akpabio should be allowed to lead the 10th Senate.
While noting that Nigeria is a secular state, Edward further urged other lawmakers to respect the choice of President Bola Tinubu and the ruling APC on the need to balance the religious representation in the new government.
He said, “We say ‘No’ to Senator Yari’s ambition and in the name of the country, we appeal to him in the name of our dear country to please shelve this ambition for all and become the hero. What the average Nigerian is looking for now is strong institutions not strong individual, sustainable development in all facets of our nation, and policies that uplift the poor and promotes economic prosperity.
“We cannot toy with the expensive portrayal of acts that can widen the divide of the people post elections, while it is politically permissible, we persuade the 10th Assembly to dissociate themselves from any political, financial, and insensitive approach or act that will promote a Muslim for the office of the Senate President for this is a display of national sabotage.
“While the ruling party may have presented these candidates, we appreciate its efforts to assuage other regions and make sacrifices to see a pan-Nigerian, nationalistic, equitable, and fair balance of the spirit and letters of our constitution
“Consequently, as the 10th National Assembly convenes, we call on all distinguished senators across party lines to promote balance, encourage and ensure inclusion and national unity that would endear the parliament to the Nigerian people.”