The All Progressives Congress (APC) says those who defected from the party in the past one year “lack values” and should be consigned to the “dustbin of history”.
Lance Issa-Onilu, the APC spokesman, stated this when he spoke to newsmen on Abuja on why the party settled for Ahmed Lawan as its choice for Senate President.
According to Issa-Onilu, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had no say in the matter as APC has the necessary numbers in the National Assembly to make the top positions.
He also stated that what happened in the 8th Assembly would not repeat itself, stating that those who left the party committed an “aberration”.
His words: “Before you arrive on an individual, we must have considered what zone he comes from. So, the party, in its own judgement, believes that we will not only zone, but go as far as to decide who from that zone is fit and proper as the Senate President.
“You should know that from every zone, we have ranking members in the National Assembly who are eminently qualified to be Senate President. But there is only one vacancy to be filled because we don’t have two Senate presidents. In this case, considering other factors, the party took a decision.
“When I say the party, not just the NWC, because there was wide consultation across the country; the party leaders, governors, the President and so, it is not just Adams Oshiomhole or the NWC. That is the position of the ruling party. So, the idea of taking the thing to the zones is an option which we have also considered before arriving at a particular individual from the North-East, only after we have zoned that position to the North-East.”
Speaking on the comments by Adams Oshiomhole, the APC National Chairman, that the party would not share positions with the PDP, he said: “It was not a threat. That is democracy. I have listened to PDP react to this and in their usual style, they exhibited crass ignorance. What we practise in Nigeria is the presidential system of government and in a presidential system of government, it is winner takes all. Once you win, you take whatever you want. There is no room for power sharing.
“We don’t need it because we don’t need them to run this government. We have enough members to run this government. In any case, when we were campaigning, we never told Nigerians that we were going to share power with any other party. We told them to entrust power on us fully because in the last four years, we have made good use of power and we will make better use of it in the next four years.
“Nigerians graciously assented to that. It will be a betrayal of that trust to go ahead and start sharing power with a party, particularly the PDP that has been rejected by Nigerians.
“We are smarting from the experience of the last four years, precisely what happened in 2015 when some traitors within the APC fold sold our birthright to an opposition party and some people now considered that as the normal thing. That action was not democratic. It was treachery and we thank God that Nigerians punished the people that were involved.
“They have been rejected with many of them now on compulsory retirement from politics. That is the verdict of the people of this country for compromising basic democratic principles, which say that when you have majority, you have the trust of the people to form a government without conceding anything to the people they have rejected. If they had wanted PDP, they would have voted for them.
“We pattern our presidential system along side that of the United States of America. When last did you see to the floor to elect Senate President. In their own case, the Speaker? Any party that has the majority automatically has the Speaker.
“What we had in the last one year when those traitors defected back to where they belong was an aberration and not democratic. It is an expression of lack of value and a commitment to personal aggrandisement and not a commitment to national interest. We should not think that it has now become the new normal. If we truly wants to practise democracy, we should consign such to the dustbin of history and never allow such to happen.
“The problem we have had with party politics in this country is the fact that no ideology drives any political party. But APC is daring to be different. What that means is that we are progressives and the worldview of progressives includes the ideology that speaks to those values that are very important to the common people.
“That is why most of the policies of this government has been pro-poor policies. All the social investment programmes were patterned along the world view of progressives.”
While urging members to support the party’s decisions, he said Senator Ali Ndume, who has also expressed interest in the Senate President position had the fundamental right to do so.
“He is only expressing his fundamental rights. But those rights were taken care on that very day you subscribed to be a member of a particular political party, in this case, the APC. That day, he signed up to abide by the position of the APC. We take what happened in the last 24 hours as how badly the news hit him.
“He is a human being and we are also conscious of the fact that Senator Ali Ndume is a respected member of APC, a leader in this party and he knows the right thing to do and on both sides, the right thing will be done. That also includes other members who have the same issues, but at the end of the day, party supremacy will have to take precedence. The party will also to conscious not to be found wanting and not to be seen to be breaking its own rules.
“What happened in the National Assembly when APC members kept the national budget for seven months is a betrayal of the party on which platform they were elected and also a betrayal of the trust of the people of this country and Nigerians have passed a verdict on them.”