Politicking around the election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives took a new dimension on Tuesday as six frontline Aspirants unanimously resolved to work towards presenting a Consensus Candidate among themselves.
The six Members-elect, namely the incumbent Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Wase (APC-Plateau); incumbent Majority Leader, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa (APC-Kano); Chairman, House Committee on Appropriations, Hon. Muktar Betara Aliyu (APC-Borno); Chairman, House Committee on Navy, Hon. Yusuf Gagdi (APC-Plateau); Hon. Sani Jaji (APC-Zamfara); and Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, Hon. Sada Soli (APC-Katsina) who are ranking members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) took the decision at a meeting held in Abuja.
The Aspirants had during their presentations at official declaration of Hon. Betara’s Speakership ambition held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, expressed grave displeasure over the adoption of Hon. Tajudeen Abbas (APC-Kaduna) by the APC National Working Committee (NWC) which was formally announced on Monday evening.
Hundreds of Members-elect as well as past Principal Officers of the House of Representatives who attended Hon. Betara’s declaration have kicked against imposition of Hon. Abbas and Hon. Benjamin Kalu (APC-Abia) as Deputy Speaker on the returning and new Members-elect, accused the outgoing Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila of sponsoring Hon. Abbas who they described as “unpopular” in the Green Chamber.
Speaking on his ambition, Hon. Betara said: “If today, the Deputy Speaker of the House is contesting, the Chairman of Appropriation is contesting, the Majority Leader is contesting, then who’s closer to the speaker.
“Gbajabiamila picked somebody that most members of the 9th assembly do not know,” he said.
While delivering his goodwill message, Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Wase who also faulted the ruling party’s decision, urged all the Members-elect not to allow the Parliament to be hijacked.
He maintained that consensus requires discussion by critical stakeholders and wide consultations, none of that was done.
“Again, I want to add that we are here to ensure the independence of the parliament. To ensure that we work together. Every Parliamentarian must rise to the occasion
“We will work as a team. 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 and loyal to our people.
“When say you you have a consensus candidate, the language for consensus is that there have been mass consultations, people go to table for discussion. There is agreement. In this case, we just saw and we are hearing rumors, speculations that some people have been made consensus candidates.
“I don’t know whether that is the meaning of consensus. This place is very sacred. We must be honourable in our action in defence of the federal republic if Nigeria,” he said.
In his solidarity speech, Hon. Ado-Doguwa who harped on the need to allow Members-elect to choose their leaders, said: “One message I want to our across is that the parliament is one institution that must always be allowed to choose own leaders.
“The business of our leadership should be solely our business and no other person’s business. In a situation where you have some people in whatsoever guise trying to decide our leadership, to form our leadership from outside without consulting us I think that should be seen as a mere failure.
”I remain available for consultations until that is done, every one will answer his father’s name.”
On his part, Hon. Yusuf Gagdi while featuring on Channels TV said members have the prerogative to choose their Leaders, adding that it would be unjust that the Party jettisoned the North Central, which gave the party massive winning vote during the Presidential election.
Meanwhile, some opposition Members-elect from New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Labour Party (LP), All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) have pledged their overwhelming support for Hon. Betara.