10th NASS: time to halt Yari and his transactional allies

Yari and Akpabio

10th NASS: time to halt Yari and his transactional allies

By Andrew Tyowase

The 10th National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be proclaimed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu next week and consequently an inauguration of the two chambers shall follow. The major item on the special-order paper will be the election of presiding officers, first in the   109 -member Senate followed by the 360-member House of Representatives.

Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio from Akwa Ibom state remains the choice of his party, the ruling All Progressives Congress alongside Senator Jubrin Barau from Kano as President of the Senate and Deputy President of the Senate respectively. In the House of Representatives, it is Hon. Tajudeen Abbas and Hon. Benjamin Kalu who emerged the choice of the All-Progressives Congress for Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

It has been a long walk; long days of horse trading, concession and intense lobbying, giving that the National Assembly and Presidential elections were conducted in February 2023, and with over a hundred days before the inauguration of the parliament. Despite this sets of choices by the APC leadership and the tacit approval of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the likes of former Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, former Abia state Governor Orji Uzor Kalu and former National organizing secretary of the APC, Senator Osita Izinaso have remained in the race for the number three office in the land.

Democratically and constitutionally, none of the contenders is status barred from the contest. It is indeed within their rights to aspire for any office in Nigeria. The standing Rules of the Senate equally clears all the contenders as eminently qualified to vie for the office of President of Senate and Deputy President of the Senate. However, the choice of Senator Akpabio was as result of many germane factors.


The argument of the APC and many political watchers and analysts was that the South-South have not had the Senate Presidency since advent of democracy in 1999 and will be fair and just, that the zone produces the President of the 10th Senate. The proponents of this same school of thought further argued that the South -South made valuable contributions in the election of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and should take a special place on the dining table.

There was equally the tricky argument of religious sensitivity that, for the purpose of fairness and unity, the number three office should be occupied by a Christian. This was on the back of the Muslim-Muslim Presidency the party undoubtedly sweated to market and the resolve to give the Christian community a sense of belonging. It is important to state that competence and cognate experience of Senator Akpabio was not and cannot be in doubt; the first line of argument did not much feature his personal competence even though it’s all over he stands taller.

The thinking of the APC and indeed of majority of Nigerians was and still remains, that it was time to concede the Senate Presidency to the South South zone. It was considered that a Christian from the Southern region should be the Senate President. It was agreed that the South South brought more votes to the APC Presidential candidate than the South East where Senators Kalu and Izinaso comes from.

These were considered before the competence and experience. Afterall, no zone lacks competent people. As a child of destiny, Senator Akpabio emerged the choice because he ticked all the necessary boxes. Suffice to say that senators Kalu and Izinaso all will contest if they so wish, even though fairness and votes-harvest places them in huge disadvantage.

The constitution and standing Rules of the Senate also favours Kalu and Izinaso, whether they will win will be the topic for another day because all odds favour Senator Akpabio. However, the former Zamfara State Governor, a Muslim from the North West, apparently swimming on the position of the immediate past Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, have refused to respect the religious consideration that places all and any christian contender miles away from him in this race.

Yari has deployed strange and divisive narratives in the build up to the Senate Presidency election billed for next week. Alongside his co-travelers, former Governor Yari quotes the constitution of Nigeria on equal rights as although the constitution itself was not built in morality. Yari and his group of senators-elect speaks in harsh tones about their disregard for the circularity of Nigeria. This casts doubts as to if really, they mean well for this country called Nigeria. There comments and disposition show they have no idea that President Bola Tinubu would have lost that election if he only appeared two years ago. They have no idea that what Tinubu have achieved was a product of long-term planning and how he built a solid political armoury whose arsenals could destroy and deflect any contender

The Muslim-Muslim ticket will be dead on arrival by anybody except Bola Tinubu and the former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.Senator Yari has the right as he claims to contest and even win, but senators-elect must see beyound his personal ambition and look at the bigger picture and what it portends for Nigeria. When Yari threatened the APC ahead of 2027 should the North West fails to produce the Senate President, not many took him seriously and many are still of the opinion that he was applying the over bloated opinion of himself in his dreams.

Yari must be tapped that the day have broken and be remind that the APC have rewarded the North West with Speaker and Deputy Senate President, so he must forthwith discard his dream to use the zone to promote his inordinate ambition that defies all known logic. Senator Yari appears to be oblivious of the fact that no patriotic senator except transactional ones will support his ambition because it is the exact stepping stone for a heavily polarized and disunited Nigeria.

Those supporting Yari are the true enemies of the Tinubu administration and the President as well as well-meaning Nigerians must rise to the occasion. Following the footsteps of Governor Nasir El-Rufai as claimed that he succeeded in an all-Muslim Government top office in Kaduna and they have replicated it in Nigeria will be the greatest joke of the time.

It is equally important that President Bola Tinubu proves to Nasir El-Rufai and his co-travelers that his administration will not tolerate elements bent of stockpiling religious violence in Nigeria. He must prove to senator Yari, a clear student of the El-Rufai’s school of divisive and arrogant tendencies that his presidency understands the importance of a united nation.

The State Governors and other stakeholders must rise to defend the unity of Nigeria and not allow certain elements with unknown motives to plunge Nigeria into any further crisis that will promote more insecurity.

The senators elect must equally look in the direction of the South, and in this case, the South South who have ticked all the boxes for the plumb job of Senate President of the 10th National Assembly.

Tyowase Andrew writes from Abuja


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