No PDP senator should contest Senate presidency – Adeyeye
A former spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party, now an All Progressives Congress senator-elect from Ekiti State, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, speaks with SUNDAY ABORISADE why members of the opposition parties in the Senate should not contest positions meant for the majority party
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party and one of their senators have said their members may contest the positions of the presiding officers of the Senate in the ninth National Assembly. What is your view on this?
In America, as we speak, the Republicans are in the majority with three or four senators over the Democrats in the Senate and yet nobody in the minority party has ever contemplated nominating any of their members to become the majority leader. That will be against the ethics and the norms of parliamentary practice and procedure.
I think it will be totally unbecoming of any senator to make that kind of a statement. By now, after 20 years, we should stop experimentation.
We should start the proper culture, ethics, and norms of advanced democracy. Nigerians have given the APC the majority of the seats in the Senate.
They, therefore, expect the APC to control the Senate. Nobody should, therefore, try to subvert the will of the people by trying to play any game or cause any division among the majority party such that the will of the people, freely expressed at the polls, could be subverted.
I do not expect any member of the PDP to come out and contest leadership positions meant for the party with the majority seats on the day of the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly.
Are you saying no PDP member should contest the presiding officers’ positions in the National Assembly?
All contestants on that day should be APC members. Since Nigerians deliberately voted for the APC to constitute the majority in the nation’s parliament with about 64 senators, the contest for the leadership positions should be within the APC.
The PDP should not interfere in it. The opposition party should not produce any candidate and its members should not contest on that day. That is the practice in the advanced democracies. No minority party plays any game to take over the majority when it did not win the highest number of seats during the general elections.
Even if the APC is presenting three senators for the top position, I do not expect that the PDP will try to take advantage of the situation by sponsoring one of its members to contest the position of the Senate presidency. We don’t want such an attitude in the Senate.
I think by now, we should have rules and develop proper democratic norms and values that would prevent us from doing what is not expected of us as a party and as members of a party.
The impression we have is that any senator properly elected has the right to aspire to any leadership position in the parliament. Aren’t you trying to deny some senators their rights with your submission?
It doesn’t have to be written in the constitution or in the House rules. It is like running a parliamentary system of government; the party with the majority of seats in the legislature is expected to form the government and appoint senior members as ministers.
Are you then saying that if there is a contest for the leadership of the parliament under that system, the opposition, which is the minority party, will now take advantage of a division to form a government? No, it doesn’t happen that way.
READ ALSO: BUHARI WON’T INTERFERE IN EMERGENCE OF 9TH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY LEADERSHIP
Even if there is a leadership challenge, like what happened during the time of Margaret Thatcher of Britain when John Major came in; the people rejected a particular leader but insisted that the new man must be the Prime Minister and the ministers must also be from the ruling party.
What I expect is that going forward, each party should have a Senate committee which will ensure that they control the majority in the federal parliament just like what they are doing in America, by raising money to sponsor candidates so that they can be in the majority in the Senate.
We are not doing that in Nigeria but we are waiting to cut corners after the people have elected their choice.