Senator George Akume, Senate Minority Leader, on Friday in Abuja, said that he was the most qualified candidate for the position of the Senate presidency in the 8th Assembly.
Akume, who is the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator, Benue North-West Senatorial Zone, stated this while fielding questions from newsmen at his Abuja residence.
According to him, the minority leader should automatically takeover the Senate leadership, if his party produces the country’s president.
He said this was in line with the presidential system of government which Nigeria practices, adding that the same obtained in the United States democracy which Nigeria copied.
Akume said: “We are practicing the presidential system of government and in that system, the path of succession to leadership in the legislature is clearly established; as minority leader, automatically I should have become the president.
“I got into the senate after eight years as the governor of Benue state.
“During my stay here, I moved from the PDP which I co-formed to the ACN and eventually I became the minority leader of APC after the merger and from that vantage position I became the chairman of the minority caucus.
“I believe that given my track records and the fact that I have been leading the caucus in the senate, I should be considered the most worthy man to preside over the affairs of the 8th Senate.
“For anybody to say that I should withdraw is purely in the imagination of a few. I do not have any skeletons in my cupboard.
“This was demonstrated recently in the U.S. whose democracy we copied, where the minority leader automatically rose to become speaker. That is the way things are done.’’
Speaking on the controversy over the issue of which zone should produce rhe next Senate President, Akume said that zoning was a deliberate attempt to ensure inclusion in the politics of Nigeria.
He explained that contrary to rumours being peddled by some people, he does not have any disagreements with Bola Tinubu or any other leader of the APC over the issue of zoning.
The third term Senator said that Nigeria was very complex in its structures and diversity and such complexities must be appropriately handled for unity.
“Today, people may want to overlook and override the importance of zoning but strategic positions should be zoned and rotated.
“Zoning is part and parcel of the politics of Nigeria, even if zoning is not expressly stated in our constitution, there must be fairness and balance in the occupation of strategic position.
“This has also given us stability in the last 16 years; we should not throw away zoning, it is acceptable to me.
“I have not heard from the party that they have jettisoned zoning, I am a faithful party man,” he said.
Akume also discountenanced the arguments about him becoming Senate President since his would-be predecessor, Sen. David Mark, was from the same region and state, adding it would not be new to the nation’s legislature.
He cited the example of the North which produced three presidents so far in the persons of Shehu Shagari, Umaru Ya’Adua and now President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, all from the same North-West region, the last two being from the same state- Katsina.
“You will want to find out why Hon. Salisu Buhari was speaker from Kano (North-West), after him Ghali Na’abba from Kano (North-West) then Aminu Masari from Katsina (North-West).
“So, you can see that precedence has already been established, Benue (North Central) will not be breaking new grounds.
“The North is not complaining, if you look at the leadership of the north they are not complaining, all they are saying is that it is wonderful for the unity of the North.’’
He further submitted that people should look beyond 2015 to 2019, adding that northerners were not opposed to the issue of the Senate Presidency coming to the North-Central geo-political zone.