April 21, 2023

10th NASS: We’ll contest Reps’ Speakership – Opposition parties declare

10th NASS: We’ll contest Reps’ Speakership – Opposition parties declare

By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja

Against the run of play, the 7 opposition parties with members-elect in the House of Representatives have declared their intention to unanimously produce the speaker and the deputy speaker of the incoming 10th National Assembly.

Gathered under the aegis of minority caucus with a maxim “The Greater Majority”, the opposition said it was buoyed up by its numerical strength to achieve its objective. 

The decision was reached at an emergency meeting of the minority caucus leadership made up of 7 political parties outside the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja Thursday night.

Already, there are permutations to promote a speakership candidate from the South south geo-political zone, and a deputy speaker from the North west.

According to a statement issued by the spokesman of the caucus, Hon. Victor Adam Ogene and made available to Vanguard in Abuja, the outcome of last Saturday’s supplementary elections has indicated that the membership of the minority caucus has risen to 182, one vote more than the statutory benchmark required to elect a Speaker.

Ogene added that there were prospects of gaining more members from the system.

Ogene who was a former deputy chairman, Media and Publicity Committee of the House in the 7th Assembly submitted that the constitution of the Federal Republic imbued every elected member with the statutory right to gun for any position, subject to the standing orders of the House.

He said that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) should not force zoning on all every member-elect. 

He said: “Besides the issue of ranking, every member is entitled to run for the office of Speaker, regardless of political party affiliation.

“The All Progressives Congress, APC, or indeed, any political party for that matter, reserves the right to regale itself with talks about micro-zoning leadership positions in the National Assembly. But the overriding question remains, are such fanciful engagements binding of the generality of Members-Elect? The answer today, tomorrow –  and until our current constitution is altered to reflect that desire – is a big No.

“Issues surrounding this all-important question is easily resolved, in the case of the House of Representatives, by Section 50(1)(b), to wit:” There shall be a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves.

“While zoning is permitted, as an intra-party solution to the sharing of political offices, seeking to enforce such on the generality of members would be tantamount to affronting Section 50 of the Nigerian constitution.

“Besides, political parties must not always use the National Assembly as guinea pigs for their zoning fancies. Why didn’t these governors summon the same courage, which they currently seek to flaunt, during the presidential primaries, by micro-zoning the presidency to a particular zone?  If it was okay to say that the presidential ticket should go to the South, then I think they ought to follow through with that same template, and propose, for instance, that the Speakership should go to the North.”