Ahead of the June date for the inauguration of the 9th session of the House of Representatives, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC with a majority of 223 out of the 360 members is taking proactive steps to avoid the 2015 episode in which the party candidates could not cling leadership positions.
Recall that APC had in 2015 tipped Femi Gbajabiamila as the Speaker of the House of Representatives but the party’s choice was jettisoned by members for Yakubu Dogara who emerged Speaker.
To avoid the repeat of history, APC National Working Committee, NWC Monday met with the party’s caucus in the House of Representatives at the Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja where it was resolved that all members must back only candidates endorsed by the party leadership.
Adams Oshiomhole, APC National Chairman while addressing the House caucus declared that the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP can not hold leadership position in the 9th House
Oshimhole said in the next Assembly, APC will not share power with PDP as done in the 8th Assembly insisting that all House Committees must be Chaired by APC members, except public account committee which is strategically reserved for the opposition.
“We have the numbers to produce Speaker, we have the number and we will use the number to produce the Deputy Speaker who must be a member of APC. We have the number and we will use the number to elect the House Leader who will be member of the APC.
“We have the number and we will use the number to elect a Chief Whip and the Deputy Whip who must be members of APC. I think the only position that we are not interested in is the Minority Leader.
“We will not share power in the House of Representatives and the leadership must ensure that critical Committees that drives government are shared only among APC members. So all the Chairmen of Committees except one that I know it is statutory reserved for opposition which is public account, we will have that.
“So he will not do the kind of thing that happened the last time in which some APC members as members of the leading party became spectators in the management of the Committees when PDP has majority of strategic Committees. That we will not happen in the next Assembly
“We will carry out consultation with President Muhammadu Buhari and all the leaders of the party and reflect the reality of appointees as reflected in our constitution which recognised the geo political region of our country so that we will work out a sensible zoning formula that seems to carry everybody along and give people chances to demonstrate their capacity and capability”, he said.
In their separate submissions, the 164 newly elected members of the House of Representatives on the ticket of APC demanded that they should be considered for leadership positions and head of Committees.
The members who said they constitute majority of APC members in the 9th House promised to give block votes to the candidate selected by party for the position of the Speaker.
Olubumi -Tunji Ojo from Ondo State who aggregate views of other new members said, “the new members we are 164, the responsibility we have now is the responsibility that will determine the future of Nigeria. We must not disappoint our people.
“I want to assure the party we are united. First timers we are united. We are going with the party, the decision of the party. We are going to bring our vote during the inauguration and it will be block votes.
“Mr. Chairman, we want to appeal to you, first timers we are 164 we want to plead that by the grace of God, once the House is inaugurated we don’t want this forum to just be a forum preelection we want the opportunity to be meeting with you.
James Kwen, Abuja