Former Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters to former President Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai has said that President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC, have no other choice than to work with the Senate President Bukola Saraki, his Deputy Ike Ekweremmadu and the appointed principal officers.
Yakassai made this statement while speaking to newsmen over the weekend.
He affirmed that it is inappropriate for the APC to choose principal officers for the National Assembly because party supremacy has a minute role to play in the affairs of the National Assembly.
“Buhari has no choice but to work with the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and it is not his business to say who would be the presiding officers that he would work with in the National Assembly.
“It is the constitutional right and responsibility of legislators to choose who should be their presiding officers.”
He clarified the issue of party Supremacy; stating that it cannot overide the constitution
“I think there is a mistake about the issue of party supremacy; there is an area where party supremacy works and there are also many areas where the party must not insist on its supremacy.
“Party supremacy cannot apply in current issues regarding the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives, as such supremacy cannot override the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He advised the APC to subscribe to the zoning of the principal officers of the National Assembly.
In the heat of the battle over party supremacy and the choice of the legislators the Senate President had resorted to zoning for the appointment of principal officers leading to the emergence of Mohammed Ali Ndume, representing the Borno North East Senatorial zone as Senate Majority leader from the North-East caucus.
Bala Ibn Na’allah, representing Kebbi South, was picked as the Deputy Senate Leader from the North-West and Francis Alimikhena, representing Edo North, as Senate Deputy Chief Whip from South-south with the position of the Chief-Whip zoned to South-west.
However this did not seem to favour the party as the opposing group Unity Forum which constitutes the party’s choice was left out.
The Crisis has continued to hover with threats from pro-Lawan group to stalemate the 8th Senate.
The House of Representatives is equally not left out as it is yet to name principal officers. Earlier attempts to nominate the officers proved abortive as the lawmakers resorted to warfare.
Yakassi further reminded President Muhammadu Buhari that his administration needs the maximum cooperation of the National Assembly especially the senate to ensure longevity.