Reactions trailing the endorsement of Senator Ahmed Lawan ( Yobe North) by the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress ( APC) as the sole candidate for the position of President of the 9th Senate took a new twist on Friday with Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi ( PDP Kaduna North) , describing it as beginning of crisis for the party in the 9th Assembly .
Hunkuyi who came into the 8th Senate in 2015 as one out of the 60 senators elected on the platform of APC and joined the party national leadership then, in the endorsement of Senator Ahmed Lawan for the position said the 2015 shocker supposed to have served as good lesson for the party .
Explaining the wrongness of the action to journalists in his office , Hunkuyi said endorsing or anointing candidate by leadership of any party for any of the four presiding officers’ positions in the National Assembly is not only undemocratic but blatantly unconstitutional going by provisions of section 50 ( 1a and b ) of the 1999 constitution as amended.
The provisions according to him states: ” There shall be a President and Deputy President of the Senate who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves; and (b) a Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves”.
“Clearly by the two provisions , only the 109 senators-elect and 360 Hon Members of the House of Representatives – elect , are empowered to decide who their leaders as regards the positions of President of the Senate , Deputy Senate President , Speaker of the House of Representatives and Deputy Speaker , should be at any given time, partiticularly at the commencement of a new Assembly .
“There fore, for any other person or group of persons outside the 469 constitutionally empowered persons to by way of pontification, anointment , selection , appointment or endorsement , saying Senator A or B ,is the one for this or that position is not only wrong but making clear affront on democracy itself .
“Must Senators be dictated to and or Senators and members of House of Representatives cabinet members of the presidency that must be railroaded or teleguided on on issues that are strictly theirs ?
” Democracy is not a crazy culture but culture of respects for peoples rights , views and constitutionally spelt out responsibilities .
“The culture of anointment or imposition the APC in collaboration with the presidency wants to infuse into it must be rejected and I know it will be rejected by the elected federal lawmakers .
“Though I don’t have the right of participation at the coming 9th Senate particularly in the election process at inauguration, but i have a say through interaction with many of the Senators-elect , already giving me the feelers that as elected senators of the federal Republic of Nigeria , their independent mindedness will come to play on the day of inauguration .
If APC as a party just zone the positions without endorsement of anybody , it would have been better but insisting that a particular person must emerge for a particular position is turning the principles of democracy and separation of powers upside down with attendant backfiring effects ” , he said .