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Dyegh declares for Reps Speaker, asks APC to reverse Southwest zoning to North-Central

John Dyegh
John Dyegh, Member Representing Gboko/Tarka Federal Constituency of Benue State has declared his intention to contest for the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 9th Assembly.

Dyegh, a third term Member made the declaration in Abuja barely 24 hours after his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC adopted Femi Gbajabiamila from Lagos (South-West) for the position of the Speaker and zoned the office of the Deputy Speaker to the North-Central geopolitical zone.

Lanre Issa-Onilu, APC National Publicity Secretary announced Tuesday night that, “APC has adopted Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as its candidate for the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 9th Assembly. This position was reached after an intensive deliberation with the APC’s House of Representatives  members-elect at a dinner with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Banquet Hall of Aso Villa.The Deputy Speaker position has been zoned to the North Central.

But Dyegh, Chairman of North-Central caucus in the House Representatives during his declaration on Wednesday insisted that the APC National leadership should reverse the zoning of the Speaker to South-West which already has the Vice President, and instead cede the position to the North-Central.

According to him, “North- Central brought in third highest votes to form the Federal government for the APC and it is not fair to take away the Senate President from the North-Central and take the Speaker to the South-West which already has a Vice President and that is why the North-Central collectively said we should go ahead and seek the party to have a rethink”.

In his declaratory speech, Dyegh recounted that, “on March 19th, 2019, I addressed a press conference urging our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) to zone the position of Speaker to the North Central geopolitical on the platform of the North Central APC Caucus of the House. I am here today to update you on the latest development regarding the contest for the office of Speaker of the 9th Assembly. My party the APC in her wisdom zoned the position of Speaker to the South West and even micro-zoned.

“I am a party man and my loyalty to the APC is 100%, however, the North Central zone has not been convinced nor given reasons why their votes should not count and why we should not run and we feel very strongly that there is still room for negotiation because we believe “it is not over until it is over’.

“We are therefore appealing to the party to have a rethink and rezone the Speakership to the North Central for Justice and Fair play. We pray to God Almighty to touch the hearts of our Leaders to reconsider us favourably.

“Let me welcome all my Colleagues, both returning and fresh Honourable Members for being among the chosen few to drive Nigeria to the Next Level. As Citizens, we all have equal stakes in the Project Nigeria, and it is against this background that the “House Project for Harmony” emerged. I therefore, stand before you today, my Colleagues and dear Country men to declare publicly my humble and sincere intention to vie for the position of the Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives.

“I am ready to offer my time and talents, and make sacrifices for the good of every Nigerian. The decision to join this race is based on my unyielding faith in a united and prosperous Nigeria.
Ladies and gentlemen, my ambition is also a response to the clarion call by my Constituents, Honourable Colleagues in the Green Chamber across party lines, party faithful and other stakeholders in the North Central geopolitical zone and Nigeria in general, for me to offer myself for this office.

“I am most encouraged by the provisions of Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (As amended), which states that: “the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies”

“It will only be fair, if the position of Speaker is given to the North Central, having taken away the seat of Senate President to the North East. It is instructive to note that the North Central has neither produced Speaker nor the Deputy Speaker since 1999. We are saying that reward in politics is based on what you bring to the table and the North Central brought the third highest number of votes in making President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term a reality and enabling the APC to form Federal Government”.

On his vision for the 9th Assembly Dyegh said, “we intend to initiate and implement a 7- Point Evidence-based Legislative Agenda which includes:
Amendment of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) to ensure Legislative experience counts by extending the Four-year tenure to Six-year tenure for the Legislature.

“To ensure enhanced capacity of Legislators and Legislative support services through training and retraining to enable the 9th National Assembly pass National Priority Laws in critical sectors such as Security, Employment and Productivity, Power and Agriculture.

“To deepen oversight processes of the National Assembly to ensure value for money and project performance by MDAs in compliance with the Appropriations Act. To ensure openness in the financial operations of the National Assembly to guarantee accountability, transparency and responsiveness.

“To initiate Legislative measures and Laws that will promote and engender national unity, providing equal opportunities to all Nigerians irrespective of ethnic, political, social and religious affiliations; and work with Legislators in a multi-partisan manner for the stability of the House and Nigeria at large.

“To create effective collaboration with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Civil Society Groups and Development Partners for active participation of all sectors of the Society in the Law making and Legislative processes.

“To sustain and deepen independence of the National Assembly and ensure harmonious interdependent working relationship with the Executive arm of Government without undermining the principles of Separation of Powers.

“My dear Colleagues, I urge you to join us in this improbable quest to transform the Legislature, which is the bastion of any democracy. We call on all Members-elect to key into the House Project for Harmony for justice and fair play to prevail.

“Let me remind our Honourable Colleagues and distinguished Nigerians that this project is a Pan-Nigerian Project and is not driven by any selfish agenda. Every Nigerian that believes in justice, equality and fairness is part of this great movement. It is a divine design of God to instill justice in our land”.

While dismissing insinuations that his action and that of the North-Central caucus in the House was rebellious, the Gboko/Tarkaa Representative said,  “that is not democracy. Taking what the party said hook, line and sinker is not democracy. We are in a democratic set up. We have right to vie for positions.

“There is freedom of expression. We believe in party supremacy, the party is supreme, I said that, I believe it, I go by what the party says but this is democracy and I believe we should give the Green Chamber an opportunity, an option. We should give the Green Chamber an option.”

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