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Allow National Assembly Elect Its Leaders on Merit and Competence, Says Northern Elders Forum 

It strongly believes that the North is the most fit for the position as majority of the chamber is populated by Northerners.

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF), has asked the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), to allow members of the 10th National Assembly (NASS) to elect their leaders based on merit and competence.

Spokesman of NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated this yesterday in Kaduna, at a colloquium organized by the Democratic Watch Initiative (DWI).

Baba-Ahmed said, “Individuals and groups lobbying for positions from northern legislators should be conscious of a number of things. First, the best thing is to respect the independence of the legislature and allow members to choose their leaders.

“Elected legislators waiting for final verdicts from the courts, who are lobbying groups and members of the public to be elected by colleagues or president-elect forget that if successful, they will be leading legislators. Groups which lobby Tinubu for ‘theirs’, should know they will pay a price in the long run. That is how politics is played.”

According to him, the North did not want just any legislator from the region to become senate president or speaker, “we should hope that he has the highest personal integrity and a good idea of how his position can help him.

“All of those contesting for positions should submit to a process by which they are nominated and support. The same thing should be done at the senate level. If they, who know each other better than us cannot decide who will serve our interests best as Northerners, then we stop campaigning for all of them.

“We do not want legislators who want to be in positions of power to fulfill personal ambition,” Baba-Ahmed said, adding that the result of the elections showed that the North was the only region that gave huge votes to all the candidates, who contested for the presidency.

“Northern voters had done their job and voted based on convictions over qualities of candidates while, some because they were induced; just as some voted along faith lines and others along party lines,” he said.

According to one of the discussants, Prof. Sadiq Abubakar, said given the number of northerners in the National Assembly, they have the capacity to produce both the senate president and the speaker of House of Representatives, because they are in the majority in the two chambers.

Earlier, convener of the DWI, Nasir Danbatta, said the colloquium with the theme: “inclusive participation for sustainable democracy”, was aimed at “brainstorming and designing a comprehensive manifest for paradigm shift to a more responsive leadership and adoption of a new selection process that would shift from parochial considerations such as ethnicity, religion and sectionalism and centre on competence, capacity and character as basis for governance.”

John Shiklam

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