Apparently disappointed by the zoning arrangement for National Assembly leadership positions released on Monday by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), seven aspirants for the Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives have come together under the G7 platform to express their rejection of the declaration.
The members of the G7 group are: Hon. Mukhtar Aliyu Betara; Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon Idris Wase Hon. Yusuf Gagdi; House of Representatives Majority Leader, Rt. Hon. Al Hassan Doguwa; Hon. Sada Soli; Hon. Mariam Onuoha and Hon. Aminu Sani Jaji.
Rising from a meeting with the APC NWC members at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, the G7 lawmakers vowed to oppose any attempts by outside forces to impose a leadership on the 10th House of Representatives. They described the zoning arrangement as unjust, unfair and inequitable, adding that it was unacceptable.
Addressing Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, the APC Chairman, Hon. Mukhtar Aliyu Betara said “I need to tell everybody here that when we were going in for the election, I supported every member of APC and I supported some of our leaders even contesting for elections. I was shocked, when I was hearing that I did anti party. My unit is in Biu my result is in INEC you can request for my result for my unit if did anti-party it going to show.
“Another thing I need to clear here sir, somebody told me that the same group are saying, I gave monies to a presidential aspirant. So if there is any transfer to anybody, the banks are there. I want to still tell you as leaders if I should give money to a presidential aspirant and he wins, what is he going to give me. My own, I want to become speaker in my party. If another party wins, can I become speaker? No. So we don’t need to blackmail ourselves. Politics is about give and take.
“Our colleagues here can testify, I have done well for the National Assembly. When I was Chairman Army, Chairman Defence and now Appropriations. Sir, I have 38 members including me and my deputy chairman as Appropriations committee but for me to stabilise the House, I co-opted 100 members to my committee just for me to stabilise the House for Femi. But today, we are aspiring for speakership, the deputy speaker, the House leader, myself, Gagdi, Miriam, Sada, etc.
“We are not against our leaders but if we should sit down and said sit amongst yourselves and pick somebody you think you can work with, it is easy but the person, the speaker is trying to even pick there are some of our colleagues that don’t know him. That’s the T
truth, I am not lying. If today the party said we zoned to north west, I have to sit and think because now the party is zoning the deputy senate president and the speaker to the same zone. We have being in this Assembly, there is no time, two presiding officers are zoned to one area.
“It has never happened. And in our discussion here, on our inauguration day, it’s what happened in the Senate that will determine what is going to happen in the House. So, we need to sit down and look at it. We might produce the Senate President from a different zone. It has happened in 2015. So as party, we are pleading, we need to sit again with all of us and do more consultations” he said
Also Speaking furiouscity, Hon. Gagdi emphasized that the proposed arrangement by the NWC was wrong because the National Assembly is an independent body that cannot be turned to the Presidency’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) where people are picked at will.
He said: ‘’When we elect our leaders, all of you will not be there, it is we and our conscience and the covenant of the people of Nigeria that will be in the hallowed chamber. So it is better, it is not late, let the wrongs be righted. Unless this is done, Sir, our party should not hope that our loyalty will be guaranteed at the detriment of justice, peace and fairness.
“We will respect justice, unity and equity in the chamber, but only if your instruction is in line with the principle of this party. Sir, do not hope that we have come here to succumb to any instruction and directive given to us.’’
Gagdi further stated: ‘’Our Party’s motto is Justice, Peace and Unity. Under your able leadership, you folded your arms and sat to allow aspirants contest elections under the supremacy of Nigerians through the delegates to choose whosoever they wanted to be the flagbearer of the party.
“The Vice President contested, he is the closest person to Mr. President and yet, because of democracy and because of justice in APC, delegates were allowed to choose whosoever they wanted to be the flagbearer of the party. Where is that principle now sir, where has it been thrown to? Have we forgotten about the motto of our party? Have we recently forgotten about the leadership that the National Chairman and Mr. President plus all of you provided during the primaries of the APC?
‘’Do we want unity, to say that the Deputy Senate President should go to North-West and the Speaker should go to North-West when in the true sense of the word, sir, in the presidential election, North-Central known to have majority number of Christians, with utmost apologies let me say this, and the religious and tribal affiliations attributed to 2023 elections, yet North Central resisted the temptation, delivered 4 states to the President-elect, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu; delivered 11 senators.
“The North-west delivered 10 with 2 states and North-east 1 State with 10 senators and the zone that has performed like this for Mr. President will be relegated to have party chairman and perhaps, as they insinuate, Secretary to the Government of the Federation; positions that the president or whosoever can scream at them and they have no locus to speak for the people of North-central.
‘’Sir, we need fairness, we need justice, that is why we are here. We need peace and we need unity.
‘’Sir, I was a Deputy Speaker in Plateau and Chairman Navy. In my four years in the National Assembly, they said the candidate they picked founded 70-something bills, none of those bills was assented to by Mr. President in our 10 years in the National Assembly and in my 3-4 years in the National Assembly, I did 21 and Mr. President signed 6. I know no parliamentarian that within 3 years had the privilege sponsoring 6 bills which the president assented to. So what qualification are they talking about 70-something bills?’’