A group, the Democracy Watch Initiative rose from a One-Day Colloquium in Kaduna and insisted that a leadership contest in the National Assembly should be thrown open.
The group said Senator Abdulaziz Yari and other contestants for the Senate Presidency be given fair constitutional rights.
The group cautioned the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to beware of political opportunists, capable of forming a cabal that would not augur well for the country.
This was contained in a communique jointly signed by the Chairman communique drafting committee, Dr. Muhammad N. Bello and Convener, Nasiru Abdulkadir Dambatta, read to newsmen in Kaduna on Thursday.
“The colloquium finally resoIved to call the attention of the President – elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to be vigilant as to the political opportunists that surround him with the intent of forming another cabal who are behind this scheme aiming to pitch him against his traditional political friends and sections of the country.
“We implore the President-elect to reclaim the People’s confidence in his untainted democratic credentials and commitment to entrench ING sustainable democracy, restoring the glory of governance, reclaiming the sanctity of constitutionalism and respect for rule of law by coming out openly to renounce any purported anointment of preferred candidates,” the communique said.
The meeting according to the communique, also resolved to follow this up with written presentations to the President-elect and the headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The communique pointed out that concerned about the disturbances that have been going on ceaselessly since the conclusion of the February 25th presidential and National Assembly elections, and the emergence of fresh set of leaders, the Democracy Watch Initiative organized a one-day colloquium in Kaduna with the theme, “Inclusive Participation for sustainable Democracy” under the Chairmanship of former Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki.
It explained that after deep deliberations and discussions by highly resourceful persons and summing up the bulk of submissions made, the colloquium subsequently arrived at the following far reaching observations and conclusions:
“It noted that while there is no better system of government than democracy, there is also no better way to produce leaders than democratic process of free and fair elections.
“It observed that the current attempt to impose leaders on people of undoubtful maturity, and proven experience elected to represent their various constituencies in the incoming 10th National Assembly, amounts to a brutal encroachment on the sanctity of the legislature, blatant subversion of popular will and a distant deviation from the democratic principle of separation of powers between executive, the legislature and the Judiciary.”
“The meeting wondered why the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, itself a product of democratic election and which subjected its presidential ticket contest to elections, should now be the same party attempting to manipulate the system to one of selection and imposition.”
“The colloquium therefore condemned the stubborn insistence on the resort to old tactics of imposing leaders on institutions as important as the National Assembly by the National Working Committee of the under its Chairman Abdullahi Adamu.”
According to the communique, the one day colloquium resolved to categorically impress the necessity for inclusive participation, respect for statutory autonomy of such organs of government as the legislature as the only basis for sustainable democracy.
“The meeting understood that a leadership of the National Assembly independently and willingly produced by the members themselves, for themselves, would douse all the deliberately created regional tension and foster strong understanding and cooperation among the distinguished and honourable members.
“The meeting recognized that the North, at the expense of candidates from the region, provided the bulk of the votes that combined with votes from other sections of the country, secured victory for the APC and a southern candidate.”
“It acknowledged the justification in the agitation from the North for appropriate reward for its commitment and steadfastness,” it added.
They therefore, resolved to encourage all contestants, to all positions, from whatever region, religion or zone, never to relent on their contests and insist on level grounds for elections as the only reasonable and acceptable option.
“We insist in this regard, that Abdul-Azeez Yari and all other contestants to the Senate Presidency be given their fair constitutional right to franchise alongside others from the Southern part of the country.
“Abbas Tajudeen, Betara, all candidates for the House of Representatives Speakership from the North, should also be encouraged to subject their aspirations to voting.”
“We however caution that the capacity, character and competence should take priority above every other consideration during the voting process and call the candidates that lose to concede honourably and cooperate with those that win in order to make progress.”
The colloquium with the theme, ” Inclusive Participation For Sustainable Democracy”was under the chairmanship of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki.