The controversy surrounding the zoning arrangements of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for principal positions of the 10th National Assembly has thickened.
Goldennewsng reports that five aggrieved aspirants for the seat of the Speaker of the House of Representatives have ganged up against the party’s consensus candidate, Tajudeen Abbas, who is from the North-West zone of the country.
It would be recalled that on Monday, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC announced its zoning arrangement after wide consultation with Rep members.
The position of the Senate President was zoned to South-South, and the consensus candidate was the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godwin Akpabio, while his deputy is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Barau Jibrin, from the North-West.
For the seat of the Speaker of the house, Tajudeen Abbas from North-West was nominated, while the Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu from South-East clinched the deputy Speaker’s seat.
However, the decision of the party has not gone down well with some aspirants for the key positions.
This platform reported on Tuesday that the current Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, Aliyu Betara (APC/Borno) ignored the zoning arrangement and officially declared his intention to run for the Speakership seat.
It was learnt that the group of the five aggrieved aspirant was formed at Betara’s declaration held on Monday night at the Transcorp Hotel, Abuja.
Members of the group, according to the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, are the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa; Chairman of the House Committee on Water Resources, Sada Soli; and a former member of the House who is now member-elect, Sani Jaji; and Betara.
However, it was learnt that another front-runner in the speakership race, Yusuf Gagdi, was in attendance. A photograph showing the five aspirants together with Gagdi later emerged online.
Wase and Gagdi are from Plateau State in the North-Central; Betara is from Borno State in the North-East; Soli is from Katsina State in the North-West, while Jaji is from Zamfara State also in the North-West.
Wase at the event said ‘’We are here for the very reasons enumerated by Sada (Soli), to ensure the independence of the parliament, to ensure that we work as a family. What we are witnessing today, we have never seen that kind of moment in the parliament and that is why every parliamentarian must rise to the occasion; to defend that institution, to ensure we do the right thing.”
The Deputy Speaker noted that the G-4 had become G-5, with the “additional one finger that we had, that is Hon Ado Doguwa.”
Wase said, “We will work as a team. We will not allow this parliament to be disgraced. We will not allow this parliament to be hijacked. We will not allow this parliament to be made a lame duck. I believe we are loyal to our country first, loyal to our party, loyal to our people.
“Like my Leader (Doguwa) did mention when you say you have a consensus candidate, the language for consensus is very simple; it means that you have had a massive consultation, people were brought to the table for discussion and there is an agreement. But in this case, we just saw and we are hearing rumours, speculations that some people have been made consensus candidates. I don’t know whether that is the meaning of consensus.
“I am a democrat. I came into the parliament in 2007 and by the grace of God I am into my fifth term, and I give glory to God. This place is very sacred. It is honourable and that is why we are called honourable members. We must be honourable in our dealings, actions, and activities in defence of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We have agreed that we will all work together, the five of us.”
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