The jostle for the Speakership of the 10th Assembly intensified last week when newly elected members of the House of Representatives, a pressure group, under the aegis of the ‘New Dawn’ are positioned to take front row in charting the course for a new leadership of the 10th Assembly.
The 120-member group that cut across political divides said they were determined and unanimous in working with every member of the House of Representatives to birth a new Nigeria through robust legislation that would positively impact the lives of the Nigerian citizens.
Convener of the group, House of Reps member–elect for Esan West, Esan Central and Igueben and also the Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Marcus Onobun, said the idea behind the formation of the group was to chart a new course that would foster unity of Nigeria through purposeful legislative engagement for the House.
He also pointed out that the group was concerned about true federalism and constitutional review that failed to scale through in the 9th Assembly.
According to Onobun, “New Dawn caucus of the 10th Assembly is a group of intellectuals from different political parties, APC, PDP, APGA, LP, SDP, NNPP, ADC, YPP and others. This New Dawn consists of new members- elect who are just coming into the National Assembly; who have done well in their various fields of endeavours regardless of political affiliations or religious background, to be able to chart a new course for Nigeria.
“And also in terms of legislation, making bills, policy drive and welfare for members and also look out at areas where Nigerians have yearned for legislation and champion those causes. For instance, the area of true federalism and part of the constitutional review of the fifth alteration that the 9th Assembly couldn’t push through.
“We hope to resurrect those bills in the 10th Assembly and also engage the Executive to give assent to the bill. And above all to choose a leader of the 10th Assembly in the House of Representatives regardless of party even though we understand that APC form a majority in terms of numbers, the other political parties put together form a greater majority.
“It means that the new dawn caucus wants to be part and parcel of choosing the leadership of the House and we are trying to look at the North but profiling all the aspirants for Speakership and other positions and taking a decision as a block to give votes to who will become the speaker.”
Speaking in the same vein, the member-elect for Oron/Mbo/Udung Uko/Urueoffong Oruko federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom State, Martins Esin, also corroborated the convener’s positions and noted that the membership were passionate to effect positive change in the House.
“It is a group of new members elected that are passionate about the development of this country and these are people that have come together to say they want to see bills, and the 10th assembly will represent the exact yearning of Nigerians and our membership is across party lines. It is not a group that is subjected to ethnic or religious bias,” he said.
While on his part, Hon Jeremiah Umaru, Member –Elect for Akwanga/Wamba Nasarawa Eggon Federal Constituency of Nasarawa State said the new group is poised to support leadership that will do the bidding of the Nigerian people.
Pastor Ojema Ojotu, member elect, Apa/Agatu Federal Constituency Benue, (PDP), said the last election has shown clearly that Nigerians are tired of the status quo.
“We are conscious of the fact that our people seem to be tired of the status quo and there is a strong desire for a shift. If you look at the pattern of voting and the way and manner we came in, you will discover that there is no better way to explain that desire than that.
“A house where over 300 people were voted out and 360 voted in as new members, that singular action of our electorates would convey to you that they are not comfortable with the way things are being done. What that means is that Nigerians are more committed to change more than ever before.
“So, we, as New Dawn want to remove the idea of money politics and we have told ourselves that we are not going to collect money from any aspirants but look at somebody with humility, integrity, capacity and blue print”.
Other notable members of the group that shared the views of others include, Ukodhiko Jonathan Ajirioghene, for Isoko South Federal Constituency of Delta State, Hon Yusuf Kure Naraje, for (Bosso/Paiko Federal Constituency of Niger State and Hon Jafaru Gambo for Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa constituency .