.As Lawyers, Group caution against electing integrity-deficient Speaker

By Omeiza Ajayi

ABUJA  –  The National Working Committee NWC of the ruling all Progressives Congress APC has adopted the candidature of Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege and Hon. Muhammed Idris Ease for the positions of Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively.
Oshiomhole,Nwokobia, Nass Leadership
APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole
The development came as lawyers under the aegis of Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates CUPA as well as the Middle Belt Alliance for Peace, Development and United Nigeria cautioned members of the House against electing a speaker or principal officers who may have questions to answer regarding their stewardship in other places.
The South-South zonal chapter of the APC had at the weekend also endorsed Omo-Agege, a move that effectively knocked out other contenders like Senators Francis Alimikhena and Orji Uzor Kalu.
National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu in a statement on Monday morning in Abuja said the NWC took the decision after it held emergency meetings between Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th June 2019.
“The party formally adopts Senator Ovie Omo-Agege for the positions of Deputy Senate President and Hon. Muhammed Idris Wase as Deputy Speaker. This is sequel to wide consultations with President Muhammadu Buhari, party stakeholders, including APC governors”, he said.
The party had earlier announced the duo of Sen. Ahmed Lawan and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as the party’s candidates for the positions of Senate President and Speaker of House Representatives respectively.
“All elected APC members of the Senate and House of Representatives are hereby directed to fully mobilise as a united force behind the party’s choice” the APC ordered.
It also urged members who have earlier signified interests in the same positions “to support the party’s decisions as loyal and committed members of APC by working with other members to ensure the emergence of the adopted candidates”.
Lawyers, Middle Belt Group kick
Lawyers under the aegis of Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates CUPA have kicked against the decision of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC to impose candidates on the lawmakers, saying the party should allow members to decide who leads them.
At a news conference yesterday in Abuja, Coordinator of the group, Barr. Pelumi Olajengbesi said having deliberated on the choice of Speaker for the 9th House of Representatives their investigations have “thrown up rather unsavory information about a lead candidate in the Speakership contest and we have a duty to the public to bring same before it as the country risk reputation crisis”.
They said; “The Green Chamber is a hallowed ground and its choice of leader must be one measurable by the loftiest standards, impeccable in character and devoid of flaws which can haunt its image nationally and internationally.
“Having constituted ourselves as the conscience of the Nigerian people and being standard bearers advocating for the best possible leaders in our country, it is our patriotic duty to watch diligently all the governance processes in our land. It is this duty that has brought us principally here today to bring to light details of our thorough investigation as it stands for now, with a view to further informing the public of new information as they arise.
“We call on the members of incoming House of Representatives to stick to a choice without a moral burden or questionable history in the coming Speakership Election or risk a reputation crisis in the face of the entire world”, the lawyers warned.
On its part, the Middle Belt Alliance for Peace, Development and United Nigeria also kicked against the decision of the APC to impose leaders on the lawmakers, urging members of the House to look beyond the Southwest in their choice of speaker.
The group which expressed support for the Speakership ambition of Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba said the lawmakers need leaders who can wholeheartedly support the anti corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Its National President, Comrade Mike Oche also “called on the APC leaders to reconsider the zoning of the Speakership position to the South-East to give every segment of the country a sense of belonging devoid of ethnic, tribal, religious and political affiliations. Nigeria deserves a Speaker whose past will not hunt the House in particular and the country in general”, he added.

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