Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and a coalition of returning and new members-elect from all the political parties that won seats in the parliament have vowed to respect the decision of the majority party in the National Assembly.
Gbajabimila, who pledged his commitment to the party’s zoning arrangement, said his emergence as speaker in 2019 was a product of zoning.
While dismissing a report by a national newspaper (not Akelicious) that he was working against his deputy, Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, and other aspirants who are aspiring for the position of the Speaker of the 10th Assembly, Gbajabiamila on his verified Twitter handle said he would abide by the zoning arrangement of the leadership of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Today, April 13, 2023, a national daily carried a cover story in which it reported that I was against the aspiration of my deputy, Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, and some other aspirants to the office of Speaker in the 10th House
“I have not declared support for any of my colleagues who have declared their interest. I have made my position abundantly clear that there is a need to wait for the party to complete its zoning exercise as I cannot work against my party’s interest and position.
I am a product of APC’s zoning in 2019, and I shall adhere to that any time the party comes up with its arrangement. Anyone, or media peddling rumours of my endorsement of any of the aspirants should desist forthwith,” he said.
Meanwhile, the coalition of returning members and members-elect have agreed to allow the All Progressives Congress (APC) get the seats of the speaker and deputy speaker in the House.
The coalition, known as the “Joint Task – 10th Assembly”, comprises 283 members-elect from the APC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP), the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the Young Progressive Party (YPP).
Leaders of the coalition, Usman Bello Kumo (APC, Gombe) and Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), in a statement, noted that their main focus was to promote the independence of the legislature, the inter-dependence of the legislature and other arms of government for good governance and grassroots impact; constituency outreach; equity and fairness among Members-elect as well as unity, equity and fairness in the emergence of presiding and principal officers in line with best parliamentary practice.
According to the statement, the coalition has the blessings of 14 APC governors, 9 PDP governors as well as several National Working Committee (NWC) members of the ruling and opposition political parties.
The forum, he said, is independent of the speakership ambition of any of the various aspirants, but with determination to build a strong coalition of members-elect of the 10th House in readiness to support the majority party zoning of the speakership office towards building a rancour-free and people-oriented 10th Assembly and in line with best parliamentary practice.
According to the statement, members of the ‘Joint Task – 10th Assembly’ had agreed to put Nigeria first and allow the majority party to form the leadership of the 10th House with other opposition parties playing a major role.
North West APC Kicks Against Zoning
Members of the APC in the North West have rejected the idea of zoning and endorsed the Senator representing Niger East, Sani Musa, for the office of Senate President.
Under the umbrella of the Voice of Progressive Youths (VPY), the APC members made a strong case for Senator Musa, saying he has the requisite capacity to hold the office of the Senate President of the 10th National Assembly.
The zonal coordinator of the group, Mr Sulaiman Mashi, in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, said Musa’s political and administrative credentials remained the best when compared to other aspirants.
Mashi said the group decided to support Musa for the Senate presidency because he is the most qualified person to lead the Senate under the APC.
He said, “We find Senator Sani Musa as the most qualified person to lead the Senate under our great party, the APC, due to the fact that he is competent, trustworthy and reliable.”
He advised the APC to reward loyalty, competence, character and performance at the just concluded Presidential Election by zoning the Senate Presidency to the North Central region and support Musa as its preferred choice for the seat.
He said, “Senator Sani Musa is a successful politician and a businessman, he is well educated, a great administrator and a skilful human resource manager.
“We strongly believe with Senator Musa as Senate President, he will deploy his diplomatic and democratic skills to bring about the much-needed synergy and harmony between the Senate and the Executive.”
Young Lawmakers Push For Inclusion In NASS Leadership
Meanwhile, fresh House of Representatives members-elect in the 10th Assembly have formed a caucus to ensure that they are carried along in the election of the presiding and principal officers.
The elected lawmakers, who cut across different political parties but are under 40 years, said 37 of them will also lobby others to ensure that they vote a young person as the speaker of the 10th assembly.
Speaking when they visited the national chairman of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Alhaji Abba Kawu, the young lawmakers said they are pushing for the interest of the youth of the country.
The spokesman of the young Legislative caucus, who is also the member-elect from Apa/Agatu Federal Constituency, Ojema Ojoju, said political parties should ensure that they give more opportunities to the youths in the next election.
“Even the rules of the National Assembly should be made friendly to the youths. We are contacting all political parties to ensure that they provide the platforms to more young people.
“The youths have become conscious; the political parties should ensure they carry the youth along. Even at the floor of the House, we will ensure that the youths are given what they deserve in positions of presiding and principal officers.”
In his response, the acting chairman of the NNPP, Kawu, said their party is a youth-friendly party, adding that they will continue to give them the needed support.
“We are going to render to them all the assistance that they need because our party is a youth friendly party.
“They want to have a say on who becomes the speaker. They have the intention to see more youths occupy positions of leadership. We have our elected members at the National Assembly and we believe they are going to give them the support,” Kawu added.