Some frontline contenders for the office of the speaker of the soon to be inaugurated 10th House of Representatives have forged alliance with their co-contestant, Muktar Betara, who is the chairman of the House appropriation committee.
The aspirants, including Idris Wase, who is the current deputy speaker; Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, majority leader; Yusuf Gagdi, chairman, House committee on navy, and Sada Soli, were present at Betara’s formal declaration for the speakership position in Abuja on Monday night.
The declaration was also attended by Umar Bago, an outgoing member who is the governor-elect for Niger State; Mohammed Mongunu from Borno State now senator-elect, among other lawmakers across political parties.
The declaration came a few hours after the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) endorsed Tajudeen Abbas (Kaduna) and Benjamin Kalu (Abia) for the position of speaker and deputy speaker.
Betara, speaking at the event, said he was working in collaboration with other aspirants to become the speaker of the 10th Assembly.
“I invited all of you here to declare for the speakership of the 10th Assembly. I am supposed to read my speech but I think it will take time. All has been said about me. The most important thing today is for me to declare that I am contesting for the speakership.
“Today is our day for members-elect and for former members of the parliament. You are seeing all the aspirants here. They came to support me because we are one family. We are moving as a group. We have been in the system for years. I was a member in the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Assemblies”, he said.
Also speaking, Wase faulted the choice of Abass by the APC as consensus candidate for speakership of the 10th House.
The lawmaker who hails from Plateau State, called on members-elect not to allow the parliament to be hijacked, saying while consensus requires discussion by critical stakeholders and wide consultations, none of that was done.
“Again, I want to add that we are here to ensure the independence of the parliament. To ensure that we work together; every parliamentarian must rise to the occasion
“We will work as a term. We will not allow this parliament to be hijacked. We will not allow this parliament to be made a lame duck. I believe we are loyal to our country first; loyal to our party and loyal to our people.
“When you say you have a consensus candidate, the language for consensus is that there must be consultations; people should go to the table for discussion for 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. This place is very sacred. We must be honourable in our action in defence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.
Also speaking, Doguwa said the parliament must always be allowed to choose its leaders, noting that it is not for outsiders to decide who leads the House.
He said: “One message I want to put across is that the parliament is one institution that must always be allowed to choose its own leaders.
“The business of our leadership should be solely our business and no other person’s business. In a situation where you have some people in whatever guise trying to decide our leadership, to form our leadership from outside without consulting us, I think that should be seen as a mere failure. I remain available for consultations and until that’s done; everyone will answer his father’s name.”