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Gbajabiamila denies working against Wase, others jostling for speakership

Gbajabiamila denies working against Wase, others jostling for speakership

Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives has denied working against the aspirations of his deputy, Ahmed Idris Wase and other lawmakers aspiring to succeed him.

Gbajabiamila gave this clarification while reacting to a cover story in a national dally, saying he has not declared support for any of his colleagues who has declared their interest for the office of the speaker.

The speaker in a statement on his verified Twitter handle @femigbaja said: “Today, April 13, 2023, a national daily carried a cover story in which it reported that I was against the aspiration of my deputy, Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, and some other aspirants to the office of Speaker in the 10th House.

“I have not declared support for any of my colleagues who have declared their interest. I have made my position abundantly clear that there is a need to wait for the Party to complete its zoning exercise as I cannot work against my Party’s interest and position.

“I am a product of APC’s zoning in 2019, and I shall adhere to that any time the party comes up with its arrangement. Anyone/media peddling rumors of my endorsement of any of the aspirants should desist forthwith.”

In the meantime, a coalition of returning and new members-elect from all political parties that won seats in the House has vowed to respect the decision of the majority party, APC on zoning of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker seats.

The coalition also pledged to uphold the decision of opposition parties on minority leadership of the House in line with parliamentary best practices.

The coalition, known as the “Joint Task – 10th Assembly”, comprises 283 members-elect from the APC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP), the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the Young Progressive Party (YPP).

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Usman Bello-Kumo (APC, Gombe) Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), the chairman and co-chairman of the group disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja.

“The main focus of the coalition is to promote the independence of the Legislature; the inter-dependence of the legislature and other Arms of Government to legislate for good governance and grassroots impact; constituency outreach; equity and fairness among members-elect as well as unity, equity and fairness in the emergence of Presiding and Principal Officers in line with best parliamentary practice,” the statement reads in parts.

According to the statement, already, 283 members-elect, comprising both returning and new members, have endorsed the coalition, which awaits the decision of the ruling APC on the zoning of the various offices.

It said the coalition has the blessings of 14 APC governors, nine PDP governors as well as several National Working Committee (NWC) members of the ruling and opposition political parties.

“The forum is independent of the speakership ambition of the various aspirants but with determination to build a strong coalition of members-elect of the 10th House in readiness to support the majority party zoning of the speakership office towards building a rancor-free and people-oriented 10th Assembly and in line with best parliamentary practice.

“Members of the ‘Joint Task – 10th Assembly’ have agreed to put Nigeria first and allow the majority to form the leadership of the 10th House with other opposition parties playing a major role.”

The coalition said those who may want to defy the APC zoning and have a repeat of the 2015 rebellion should remember the consequences of such action on governance as the sour relationship between the leadership of the 8th National Assembly and the Executive left Nigeria and Nigerians at the receiving end.

The statement read: “We are aware of the theatrics in the 8th National Assembly. But Nigerians want to see good governance and not grandstanding. Rebellion will deny the incoming Tinubu administration the opportunity to deliver on its mandate and the high expectations from Nigerians, especially under the current ethnic and religious tension in the country.

“We are glad that the leadership of the ruling party recognizes that the opposition political parties in the House are very key in the formation of the next leadership of the House, hence this coalition shall continue to consult with all the opposition parties.

“Our desire is to see a Nigeria where all of us, the political actors, come together to put the country first, subduing our individual interest, in order to have a better country that we, our children and our children’s children will be proud of.

“We appreciate the capacity and prowess of all contestants for the esteemed positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively, and implores every aspirant to put the interest of the House and the nation first over their personal ambition for the good of all.”