By Chimezie Godfrey
Nigerians living in the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (USA), Canada and Ireland have thrown their weight behind the bid by Senator Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar to lead the next Senate as the upper chamber’s President come June 13, 2023 when the 10th National Assembly (NASS) is scheduled for proclamation.
The Diasporan Nigerians gave their support to Senator Yari on Thursday 25 May, 2023 at a World Media Conference they held in Belfast, Ireland where they also demanded a free, independent 10th NASS which they insisted must be allowed to choose its leadership in an open, transparent election in which all contestants participate on a level-playing field.
In a media release, the Nigerians under the auspices of Diaspora For Yari Movement called on the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to drop the idea of micro-zoning positions of leadership in the 10th NASS and allow members-elect of the incoming Assembly to elect the leaders of their choice.
Backing Senator Yari’s candidature for Senate President, the Nigerians in Diaspora declared: “We in the Diaspora for Yari Movement are convinced that Distinguished Senator Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar has the competence to lead the next Senate as Senate President.
“The Diaspora for Yari Movement hereby declares that Distinguished Senator Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar enjoys the confidence of the majority of the incoming Senators of the 10thNASS and will be elected Senate President on June 13, 2023 on the floor of the Upper Chamber in an open and fair contest.
“With his wealth of experience as a twice-elected Governor of Zamfara State, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, and his demonstrated energy cum capacity for copious work, etc Distinguished Senator Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar is the Senate President Nigeria needs in the 10th NASS to move our country forward.”
The media statement, signed by Mr. Adebayo Hassan, Convener, Diaspora For Yari Movement and Secretary of the group, Charise Mba, reads in part:
“The Diaspora For Yari Movement in the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America, Canada and Ireland jointly refer to the recent zoning list released by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in which the party zoned and micro-zoned the leadership offices of the incoming 10th National Assembly.
“The Diaspora For Yari Movement hereby registers our displeasure with the list and the machinations behind its production which, from all intent and purposes is to make mockery of our democracy by turning the 10th NASS into the lapdog of the Executive and non-Parliamentarians.
“We have a stake to speak up on this burning national issues as Nigerian professionals in the Diaspora who are deeply interested in the goings-on in our natal land where all of us have our filial, economic, spiritual, etc, roots firmly planted, even as we have built outstanding careers out here in the Western Hemisphere and around the world.
“Our mediation is also borne out of first-hand experience of the workings of advance democracies here in the West and our desire to see that the Nigerian democratic processes and institutions mature to the heights of those found in these foreign lands in which we are sojourners and all hope to leave and return home – Nigeria – to experience same standards of people-driven governance and strong, democratic framework.”
The statement continues: “All scholars of government know that separation of power is a cardinal component of democratic rule. The on-going scheme to impose its leadership on the 10th NASS is therefore, a blatant attempt to jettison this basic principle of democracy, which does not rest well with us Diaspora Nigerians.
“Consequently, the Diaspora For Yari Movement hereby declare unequivocally that we condemn the on-going scheming to pocket the 10th NASS as demonstrated by the zoning list released by the APC NWC, purportedly after consultations with the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other stakeholders in the party.
“In tandem with many voices of reason who have spoken out on the matter, the Diaspora For Yari Movement hereby demand a total voiding of that purported zoning list and its withdrawal from the public domain by the APC NWC.
“While zoning political offices is not exactly strange in Nigerian politics, the current attempt to do so with the 10th NASS leadership election is distasteful and disrespectful to the Nigerian Electorate who sent the incoming federal lawmakers to the National Assembly as their choices.
“To foist a leadership on the 10th NASS as the APC NWC and its clandestine allies in the incoming Executive are apparently planning is to dismiss all members of the Assembly as toddlers incapable of organising themselves to choose their leaders. If this is the image those behind the plot desires for the 10th NASS, why would the average Nigerian have any confidence in the federal lawmakers? Why should Nigerians be convinced that indeed the incoming NASS can make laws for the good of the country?
“Yet it is common knowledge that the incoming crop of the National Assembly is made up of highly experience public administrators, astute technocrats and who have distinguished themselves in several spheres of human endeavours, including public administration and boardroom business, as returning members of NASS, former governors, ex-ministers, erstwhile labour leaders and trade unionists, diplomats, investment gurus, etc.
“What better qualifications do those pulling the strings behind the scene, trying to hand-pick the leaders of the 10th NASS for the Assembly have than the Senators-Elect coming into the Upper Chambers of NASS and Members-Elect of the House of Representatives? If they are not better qualified or experienced, as is truly the case, then they need to cease and desist forthwith in meddling in the affairs of the 10th NASS.”
The Diaspora For Yari Movement added: “It is the case that majority of Nigerians are clear on what they want to see on June 13, 2023 when the 10th NASS is proclaimed by the incoming President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. What Nigerians want to see is an independent 10th NASS which proceeds to elect its leaders in a transparent, free and fair vote on the floors of both chambers, without any illegal meddling in the process by non-lawmakers like the APC NWC or the Presidency.
“The Diaspora For Yari Movement aligns itself with the Nigerian People and their demand as succinctly stated above.
“To be clear, the Diaspora For Yari Movement hereby demands an unfettered 10th NASS, which characteristic we want to see manifestly established via the very first act of the Parliament, to wit: electing their own leaders on June 13, 2023, openly, freely and un-controlled by any list drawn up by interlopers from outside NASS.
“Come Proclamation Day, the APC NWC, the Executive and its rumored cabalists are advised to steer clear of the business of electing leaders of the 10th NASS if truly they are democrats and place Nigeria above their personal pecuniary interest as has been alleged is the reason behind this brazen attempt to pocket a whole arm of government.
“To be sure, neither the APC NWC nor President Bola Ahmed Tinubu – as he would then be on June 13, 2023 – should anoint Senators or Members of the House of Representatives for all the leadership positions up for grabs in the 10th NASS.
“We believe that the APC NWC as a party must allow the members of the 10th NASS to elect whoever they choose from among themselves to lead them. It is what is obtainable in advance democracies of the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, etc to which Nigerians home and abroad aspire to be.
“Executive whims and caprices and party supremacy cannot and must not be weaponised to cripple and mock Nigeria’s democracy. The Diaspora For Yari Movement calls on the APC NWC to withdraw that zoning list and allow a free and fair contest for the Senate President and other National Assembly positions.”
The group stated: “The Diaspora For Yari Movement hereby alerts the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to a big blackmail campaign being carried out with his name and against those who have shown interest in leading the 10th NASS, particularly those whose names are not found on the purported zoning list released by the APC NWC.
“We therefore urge the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to publicly dissociate himself from that disreputable act and the discredited zoning list, as well as prevail on those using his name to blackmail candidates in the race for the leadership of NASS to stop the cheap act immediately.
“To us Nigerians in Diaspora, all candidates aspiring to the lead the 10th NASS in one capacity or another are patriots who would work with the President-Elect for a better Nigeria. Therefore, their quest to serve the nation in this regard must not be truncated by a zoning list drawn up by shadowy persons whom the Nigerian people did not elect into NASS in February.