As Nigerians look forward to the commencement of Tenth National Assembly, elders and leaders of Niger Delta, under the auspices of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, (PANDEF) have called on the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which has a majority of Senators-elect, to zone the position of Senate President to the South-South Geopolitical Zone, in the interest of equity and fairness.

The call was contained in a Press statement signed by Ken Robinson, National Publicity Secretary of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF and made available to newsman in Warri, Delta State.

The statement reads in part, “It is imperative to stress that the last time someone from the present South-South States occupied the Office of Senate President was during the Second Republic (1979/1983), when the late Distinguished Senator Joseph Wayas, from Cross River State, was elected, first in October 1979, and, again, in October 1983, before that Republic was truncated on 31st December 1983.

“Earlier, Chief Dennis Chukwudebe Osadebay, of blessed memory, from Asaba, Delta State, held the position of President of the Nigerian Senate in 1960; he later became the Pioneer Premier of the former Mid-Western Region, upon its creation in 1963.

“In the present dispensation, since 1999, the South-South Zone has not had a turn in the Office of the Senate President. The Region has had stints at the lower levels of Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, between 1999 and 2007, under the Rt. Hon. Chibudom Nwuche, and the Rt. Hon. Austin Opara, both from Rivers State. Currently, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, from Delta State, is Deputy Senate President.

“Ostensibly, the South-South Zone has an unassailable reason to step up to the Senate Presidency, after 24 years of our current Democratic experience. No contrary arguments can stand against this South-South position.

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“Whilst agreeing, in parts, with the positions postulated by the Progressive Governors Forum, and sundry individuals, on the subject, PANDEF is disturbed by some of the names reported in the media, to have indicated an interest in the Senate Presidency, in particular.

“The All Progressives Congress, APC, having upheld the principle of rotation of key political offices between the North and the South, in respect of the Presidency of the Federation, is expected to maintain the same modus for the other major elective political offices viz: the Senate Presidency, Speakership of the House of Representatives, and their Deputies.

“Surely, the Leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, cannot be entirely unmindful of the fact that a *MUSLIM SENATE PRESIDENCY* would bring further imperilment to National order, affecting the sorely desired overall stability. A wrong move on this score can only represent a step too far.

“PANDEF, as a body of patriots and proven committed stakeholders, in the Nigerian Project, is compelled to issue this timely advice, in the national interest.

“PANDEF thus, urges politicians to draw lessons from recent happenings in the polity, and demonstrate grander statesmanship, and patriotism, in designing the leadership of the upcoming Tenth National Assembly; while cautioning that obsessive political characters should not be allowed to blur this all-important issue with the usual ignoble hoarse recourse to “internal affair” status. That would be most unfortunate and of no profit to any demographics in the Nigerian Project!”