Parliamentary Advocacy Network says Executive interference must be rejected, insists on independence of the 10th Assembly, equity, and fairness.
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Members of the Parliamentary Advocacy Network (PAN, Nigeria), a pressure group with a bias for the independence of the National and States Houses of Assembly, have condemned a purported endorsement of some Lawmakers-elect as Presiding officers of the Tenth National Assembly by the governing All Progressive Congress (APC) and the President-Elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The Network issued the condemnation at the end of its emergency meeting in Abuja on Sunday, where members deliberated on the issues at stake across the country, especially the choice of the Presiding Officers of the 10th Assembly by the incoming administration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
It thus rejected what it described as political shenanigans, executive recklessness/misadventures and unwanted interference in what is legally and democratically known to be the sole duty, responsibility, privilege and right of Lawmakers-Elect of the National Assembly. It also noted with dismay how what ought to have been a simple, seamless and innocuous parliamentary process is being allowed to overheat the nation’s political system in a manner that is reminiscent of the weeks and days leading to the last general election.
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In a communique signed by Sunny Anderson Osiebe – National Coordinator, Fred Itua – National Secretary and Nkem Anyata-Lafia – National Publicity Secretary, the Network wrote: “We have also noted the widening and dangerous predilection to what looks to be a budding and rising incidence in Executive interference and rascality in the activities of the National Assembly, which we perceive deeply as a misconception of what in political parlance is, usually, termed as “lobbying.”
While we condemn this overbearing attempt to railroad the emerging 10th National Assembly in the direction of a particular mindset, we wish to inform Nigerians that the Legislature is one of the three arms of Government, whose independence is guaranteed by our Constitution and the principles of democratic governance.
The fact of the above, therefore, compels the need for Nigerians of all tongues and creeds to rise in unison in condemnation of the aforementioned activities in order to nip in the bud the general tendency by members of the Executive and their powerful individual agents of coerciveness to take over the activities of the Legislature in the emerging 10th National Assembly.
The Network, therefore, resolved as follows: To condemn the recent purported endorsement of a named individual Lawmakers-Elect for presiding officers’ positions by the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the President-Elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
To inform Nigerians and the world that, in reaching this decision, the Network had since noted and supported the gains of zoning political offices at our national level and, indeed, at the level of the National Assembly, as promoting fairness, political balance, equity and all defined virtues that go to address our diversity and fault lines.
We, therefore, wonder why, instead of zoning positions to geographic regions as the word “zoning” itself implies, candidatures of certain individuals have not only been bandied, but are being forced down the throats of Lawmakers-Elect and the National Assembly as an independent institution of democracy against every known democratic tenet.
To condemn as undemocratic, self-serving and negatively pre-emptive, the actions of members of the ruling Party, including those of the President-Elect, Tinubu, those of the outgoing Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje and their co-travellers on this ignoble path of perdition as a dangerous interference in the rights, duties, responsibilities and activities of Lawmakers-Elect for the emerging 10th National Assembly and to call all law-abiding Nigerians to join us in condemning these actions that are capable of setting Lawmakers-Elect against themselves in a manner that may infuse bad blood and divide their ranks all through the pendency of the 10th National Assembly.
To call on all Lawmakers-Elect never to hearken to a “zoning” directive or formula by their parties, or anyone for that, which has the capacity to concentrate power in a particular geopolitical zone to the disadvantage of others, using whatever parameters.
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The Network observes that, it is disheartening to note that, at this level of our national evolution, a person or a group of persons is prescribing a zoning arrangement that will see both the Deputy President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives come from the same North West that is exiting the Presidency and is likely being positioned for the SGF on an account of the funny narrative that the Zone gave over 2 million votes to the President-Elect against other considerations!
We call on all Nigerians to be vigilant and continue to stand sentinel against all inordinate desires and ambitions of a few that have the propensity to torpedo all that our nation stands for,” the communique read.