‘Who’s He To Ask APC To Punish Me?’ — Yari Replies Obono-Obla Over Senate Zoning Dispute
…I’m Founding Father Of APC, Says Ex-Zamfara Gov
Former Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State has dared the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to punish him over his refusal to step down for the party’s preferred candidate for the position of Senate President in the 10th National Assembly.
Yari was responding to Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, a former senior special assistant to the president on prosecutions, who had called on the APC to discipline him for alleged divisive statement.
The former governor is among APC senate presidential aspirants who are protesting against the zoning and ‘consensus’ arrangement recently announced by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) for principal officers in the 10th assembly.
The APC had endorsed Senator Godswill Akpabio and Senator Jibrin Baraus as Senate President and Deputy Senate President, respectively, while Hon. Tajudeen Abas was anointed for the seat of the Speaker and Hon. Benjamin Kalu as Deputy Speaker.
The party’s decision was, however, rejected by other aspirants who claimed they were sidelined in the selection process.
Obono-Obla, in a press statement, quoted Yari as threatening that the APC would cease to exist if the North does not get the Senate President position.
He described the former governor’s alleged utterances as incendiary, disrespectful and capable of splitting the party into factions, urging the party to discipline him.
But responding when he appeared on Arise TV on Tuesday, Yari said he is the ‘key founding father’ of the APC and cannot be punished.
“Can anybody harass me in APC today? I am the key founding father of the APC. So, who is he (Obono-Obla) to say I should be disciplined (for) talking about my rights? The Constitution has given me the right to do so and he is talking about something else. I don’t even know if he’s a member of the APC. So, I, Yari, am the founding father of APC,” the ex-governor said, adding “It is about dialogue, not harassment.”
Yari also responded to a chieftain of the APC, Adamu Garba, who had said that he was not qualified to become Senate President because he allegedly lacks legislative experience.
He argued that based on the amended Senate Standing Rules 2015, he is qualified to be elected to the position because he was a member of the 6th House of Representatives.
“Well, maybe he (Adamu Garba) joined politics recently. If he’s following politics since 1999, (he would know that) I was a member of the National Assembly and once you’re a member of the national assembly, you’re a member of the national assembly. That cannot be denied to you.
“I have been in the House of Representatives in the 6th Assembly, and from there I moved to the executive part of the government, i.e. I became governor in 2011, governor in 2015, and in 2019 I was elected a senator (annulled by the court),” he added.
The Supreme Court nullified Yari’s election to the Senate in 2019 on the grounds that he was not validly nominated through the primary election of the APC.
Meanwhile, Chapter II of the amended Senate Standing Orders of 2015 proves that: “(2) Nomination of Senators to serve as Presiding Officers and appointments of Principal Officers and other Officers of the Senate or on any Parliamentary delegations shall be in accordance with the ranking of Senators. In determining ranking, the following order shall apply-
“(1) Senators returning based on number of times re-elected;
“(ii) Senators who had been members of the House of Representatives:
“(iii) Senators elected as Senators for the first time.
“(iv) The appointment of Senators as Chairmen and Members of Committees shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the Six Geopolitical Zones of the Country and there shall be no predominance of Senators from a few Geopolitical Zones.”