…says contest is open to APC, PDP members

By Levinus Nwabughiogu

ABUJA-As the race for speakership of the House of Representatives gathers momentum, a ranking member, Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub has said that his sole mission in the contest is to foster peace between the three arms of government for speedy democratic growth.

File: House of Assembly

Speaking to Journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, Yakubu who represents from Gombi/Hong federal constituency of Adamawa State said that he’s qualified just like any other two term member to vie for the speakership of the House.

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He said: “The only qualification to vie for post of speaker according to the rules of the House is to be a ranking member and I am a ranking member because I am returning for the second time to the House. And before you even qualify to become a member of the House of Representatives, you must have fulfilled every qualification as a Nigerian as stipulated in the constitution. So, I have fulfilled those qualifications, so I am qualified.

“One key reason why I want to vie for speakership is to create harmony between all arms of government which is very key because our major enemy today in Nigeria with the present situation we found ourselves is time. Nigerians have voted us in to see that we transform the economy of the country. This encompasses a lot of things.

“Until we have a good economy, you will solve the problem of youth unemployment, decayed educational infrastructure, health, roads and so on. So, leaders in Nigeria have a Herculean task before them. And so, you can achieve achieve much if you waste your time fighting amongst you. That’s one major I want to do as a man of peace to see that we have total understanding and harmony between the legislature, executive and the judiciary. So, that our main goal of transforming Nigeria can be achieved.”

Yakub said that it will be in the interest of the country and his political party, the All Progressives Congress, APC to allow the status quo to remain as it concerns power structures and rotations.

“The northeast has a better chance of producing the speaker because the status quo presently is that the Speaker is from the northeast, the senate president is from the north central and the president is from the northwest and the vice president is from the south west. So, the north east has a better chance and you can see from the elections that just took place that the northwest where the President comes from has the highest votes, followed by the northeast which came second”, he said.

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While agreeing that any ranking member irrespective of his political party can vie for the office, the lawmaker however said they were awaiting the input of APC in the contest.

He expressed satisfaction with the presidency’s position not to interfere in the politics of the national assembly.

He said: “In the House, we don’t see ourselves as coming from different parties. We are all one and in the politics of the house, the party divide is something we don’t take very seriously. All we do is to put Nigeria first. Though everyone comes under a platform of a political party and we know presently, Mr. President has said he doesn’t want to be involved in national assembly politicking; that he wants to play a neutral role in the whole thing.

“But definitely, the party may come out with a zoning formula. If they do, as men men, we will sit down and toe the path of zoning. But if the party didn’t come out with a zoning formula, then we will go in and look for votes from our colleagues irrespective of the party divides and whoever gets the highest votes becomes the speaker.

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“Well, there is no surprise as long as the law does not stop anybody from contesting. There will be no surprise if anybody wants to join the race. It is an open thing and every Nigerian has the constitutional right to do whatever the constitution of Nigeria allows him to do. So nobody’s right will be trampled upon just like Mr. President said that he will not interfere in the national assembly politics but you know the party has a role to play. It may come out with a zoning formula and as loyal members of our parties, we are waiting.”

Yakub also dismissed insinuations that his ambition is subject to the executive endorsement so as to give the government soft hands when he emerges as the speaker.

“Being a man of peace does not make one a rubber stamp. Not at all. The legislature has a role to play. In the legislative arm, our role is yo make laws. Two: to make appropriations for the executive to implement and three; to do our oversight functions, to make sure that the executive utilizes whatever funds that are budgeted judiciously.

“That’s the role of the legislature. And in the process of doing your job, if for instance, one billion is appropriated to construct a road and in the course of your oversight functions, you discover that that money is not being utilized, definitely, you will have to query it and make sure that the right thing is done.

“So, if a legislator does that, is a healthy quarrel for the good of Nigeria. But the type of quarrels we are talking about are selfish and personal quarrels. That is what we don’t want because at the end, it is ordinary Nigerian that will suffer.

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“So, you just don’t create it whether you are elected, appointed or a civil servant who grew to the management like the Permanent Secretary, the target is for all of us to join hands and work for Nigeria. Just a simple target. It is not about ego or personal interest, it is about working for  Nigeria. The goal every leader is to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians”, the lawmaker said.

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