Muktar Betara, a frontline aspirant for the Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives has expressed shock that Femi Gbajabiamila, the outgoing speaker picked a successor outside his closet confidants — Idris Wase, deputy speaker, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, the majority leader and himself Betara, the chairman House committee on Appropriation.
The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) had on Monday given a nod to the endorsement of Tajudeen Abbas (Kaduna) and Benjamin Kalu (Abia) for the position of speaker and deputy speaker by Bola Tinubu, the president-elect.
Apparently reacting to the endorsement of Abbas believed to facilitated by the present speaker, Betara said: “as the engine room of the legislature, Femi Gbajabiamila gave me a name, he calls me the Head boy.
“I was surprised for my friend, my boss to nominate one person outside all of us here. If today the deputy speaker of the House is contesting, the chairman of Appropriation is contesting, the majority leader is contesting, then who is closer to the speaker? So nobody.”
The House Appropriation chairman wondered why the speaker would feature a member who is not even known amongst his colleagues to take the number four position.
“He (Gbajabiamila) is bringing one person that members of the 9th Assembly, I can tell you some of us even don’t even know the person.
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Consequently, a group of five (G-5) speakership aspirants, comprising of Betara, Wase, Doguwa, Yusuf Gagdi (APC, Plateau) and Sada Soli (APC, Katsina) have emerged to stop anointed speakership candidate from clinging the seat.
Giving this hint, the deputy speaker said five of the aspirants have resolved to come together and save the parliament by ensuring the right thing is done.
“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 ensure we did the right thing and it is in the light of that, five of us sat, four sat but the fifth one that we have is Hon. Ado Doguwa that we will work as a team.
“We will not allow this parliament to be disgraced, hijacked. We will not allow this parliament to be made a lame duck.
“I want to appreciate my brother to agree that we should all work together and the four of us, one of us is not here, we have Hon. Jaji but he will soon be around; we have Sada Soli and we have Ado Doguwa, my humble self with all humility and Hon Betara, Yusuf Gagdi has now joined us.
“So we are going to work, we want to save this institution, we want to ensure that parliamentarians have their rights and their rights should not be taken for granted.
“I we are loyal to our country first. Loyal to our party and loyal to our people. And like my leader did mention, when say you you have a consensus candidate, the language for consensus, it means that there have been massive consultations, people go to table for discussion and there is an agreement.
“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.”
On his part, Doguwa who maintained that he was still in the race said the parliament is one essential institution that must always be allowed to work out its own business by itself.
“The business of our leadership should be solely our business and no any other person’s business. The way and manner members can operate under the platform of first among equals, members can operate on the basis of equal members operating on basis of equal constituencies.
“In a situation where you have some people in whatsoever guise or whatever name trying to determine our leadership or who to form part of our leadership from outside without consulting us I think that should be seen as a mere failure,” he said.