In this interview with JOHN ALECHENU, the senator representing Borno-South senatorial district and member of the All Progressives Congress, Ali Ndume, contends that the North-East deserves senate presidency
Your party leadership met last Wednesday night to deliberate on the zoning arrangement. Can you let us in on what transpired?
I was not at that meeting and our party is a party that thrives on rules and regulations. So, whatever the party is going to come out with is definitely going to be in the interest of the nation. So, I do not have any issue with that.
What is the demand of the people of the North-East geopolitical zone in the sharing of National Assembly posts?
Anything that is given to us will be okay. We have contributed so much as a zone. We even prefer to be given the best but we know that the best cannot be given to all. For instance, we prefer to be given even the presidency but that has been given to another zone and the vice-president has also gone to another zone. The party is considering all these and we are pushing our case. It is left for the party to decide what is in the best interest of the country, which is what the party stands for.
Are you contesting the position of Senate President in the event it is zoned to the North-East?
I have been a leader in the National Assembly and leadership is not something I am desperate about. But normally power is given to anybody by God. If it is the wish of the people for me and I have been saying this at all times that I do not want to be senators’ president or senators’ deputy president. I want to be senate president. The politics is something that is based on our experience and how some of you know us. But like I said, whatever decision that is taken by the party is what the North-East will abide by.
Why did you say the North-East deserves to be given the position of Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representatives?
You see, the North-East gave the second largest number of votes to the APC during the last general election. And like I said, if you are looking for people that are consistent being in opposition all this while, Borno and Yobe, in particular, have been consistent in opposition. Now that power has shifted from the former majority party, the Peoples Democratic Party, to the opposition and we are where we are today, the zone deserves top positions.
Secondly, we are the most devastated in terms of the level of insurgency and marginalisation during this political dispensation. Thirdly, the North-East is part of the poorest regions on earth according to the United Nations human development indices. Because of her natural position, we will need to be placed in key positions whereby we will not be lacking. Because we were marginalised, we are in a desperate need to ensure that he who is in the kitchen will never stay hungry. And lastly, in the last election, the North-East produced the second largest amount of votes for the APC and then we took over two states (Bauchi and Adamawa) from the PDP. So, this profile qualifies us to get the highest possible office that is available. That is our argument. But maybe, if the party has other considerations then we will look at it. But we should not blindly say because we want something, our own brother who may equally have his reasons should not be considered.
These are the considerations we want whoever is deciding the matter to look at. Then we have the people. We have the senators. In the South-East now, they do not have any senator in the APC. Even if you want to give them something, there is nobody to receive it. But here we have too many people that want to be given and the positions are few.