…we don’t want to wear the uniform of rubber stamp
…as Greater Majority Forum insists we’ve not endorsed any candidate
Reps-elect have raised alarm that the outgoing speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and APC leadership are allegedly using their various governors to intimidate them to succumb to the imposition of Tajudeen Abass on them.
This is just as the Greater Majority Forum on Monday night insisted that no candidate has been endorsed by the coalition.
Some of the lawmakers-elect who spoke under the condition of anonymity said the APC leadership is using all manners of tactics to ensure that they bow to them via the imposition of an unpopular lawmaker.
One of such lawmakers from the south west geopolitical zone bared it all saying: ” This imposition won’t work because we have made up our minds not to wear the toga of a rubber stamp like the outgoing ninth Assembly.
” It’s imposition that gave birth to a rubber stamp assembly and we are going to fight to a logical conclusion on the floor of HoR.
“Most of us understand the dynamics of the House and we will slug it out to ensure that the next House is truly independent but will play the role of positively impacting on state affairs that benefits all Nigerians.
Another vibrant lawmaker from the North Central geo-political zone declared that “the lopsidedness in this tenth NASS will witch-hunt our generations yet unborn if this unholy zoning is allowed to fly.
“North Central that has the highest number of lawmakers after North West which is at advantage with an extra state was not even considered in the permutations as if we are not part of Nigeria.
“They’re now using figures and our governors to intimidate us to submission, this is a dangerous trend if it’s not quickly checkmated but we will surprise them.
Also on Monday, the coalition of Members-elect from seven opposition parties of the House of Representatives, known as “Greater Majority”, said it has not endorsed any candidate for the position of Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
Speaking at the fourth session of the forum in Abuja, the convener, Hon. Frederick Agbedi (PDP Bayelsa State) urged members that there was the need to interact with stakeholders in their various states as well as the parties’ stakeholders to arrive at a decision on the Presiding Officers of the 10th House.
Hon. Agbedi who inaugurated state coordinators from among the members, explained that they are to meet at their various state levels for the purpose of deciding who to support on June 13 at the inauguration of the 10th Assembly.
He further said there would also be zonal coordinators, who will also meet at the zonal levels with the various states in collating what decisions that they are going to finally come out with after due consultations.
He said, “Of course you are aware that in politics, one day, one hour is a long time for a lot of things to happen. And they will keep happening until the 13th of June when we are going to decide who leads us. I want to also say that a number of our colleagues, because they are out of town, sent their apologies. Quite a number called this morning. Some because of flight delays, flight changes and all that. They send their apologies that they are unable to join us, but that they believe in what the Greater Majority is doing and they are part of it.
“I want to also in welcoming you, say that there are misconceptions, there are misgivings and of course for some of us that were given some honour to be part of those who should pilot the affairs of this group, we will be with you all the way to the end to ensure that we achieve what we desire for the Greater Majority, we achieve what we desire for our constituents and we achieve what we desire for Nigerians.
“You had quite some briefings in the third session which was held in Frazier Suites and so may not need to go round a number of those issues. But let me quickly say that if we must get it right, if we must do the right thing, if we must actually represent our people, we would need to be guided and to be guided would mean that we need to interact with our leaders in our constituencies. We need to interact with our colleagues from the various states, we need to interact with our parties’ stakeholders and all that in arriving at the decision that would be won for us.
“Please, your convener and conveners and other leaders have not either on your own behalf or with you adopted anybody for the office of Presiding Officers. Please. That would only take place when that agreement is reached by all of us. That is decision would be our collective decision, but I am even saying that before we get to that decision, we are going to ensure that, for example I come from Bayelsa, I should be able to speak with my governor, I should be able to speak with my party leaders so that whatever I am keying into is with the understanding that my stakeholders are on the same page with me and that is what for some of us we expect of all us to do so that we do not ambush Mr A or ambush Mrs B or ambush Miss C.
“And so I want to assure you and promise you that we will lead ourselves to arrive at a collective decision and in doing that, we have also resolved that we should have state coordinators who are also going to meet at their different state levels. Eventually we are also going to have zonal coordinators, who will also meet at the zonal levels with the various states in collating what decisions that we are going to finally come out with after due consultations. And that is why we have invited all of us to this meeting, this interaction. So that we all know who and who will coordinate our states and then also who and who would coordinate our zones, so that we leave the responsibility back to you, interact, consult and then we meet again and know the direction to go.
According to Agbedi, the group had met with the acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic party PDP, Umar Damagum; the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi; the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party NNPP, Rabiu Kwankwaso, among other stakeholders towards a retreat of the caucus to be held in Uyo, he capital of Akwa Ibom State in June.
“In addition, we are also going to have a retreat. Of course, about today we would have proceeded for the retreat if not for some slight changes. But tentatively, we are looking at the end of the month to the first one or two days (in June) that will be confirmed by stakeholders. We have spoken to the PDP leadership. We have spoken to the Labour Party leadership. We have spoken to the NNPP leadership. And they are all aware that we intend to have a retreat and they have pledged that they would love to be part of it, to speak to us.
“Let me be specific, we have visited the PDP national chairman and the national working committee. We have visited the presidential candidate of the Labour Party and some of the officers of the party.
“We have also visited the NNPP presidential candidate. We narrated our way forward and they promised to make time available once the dates are confirmed to be with us.
“So, I want to urge you, in the next few days, the dates would be announced and if possible, I am sure that names would be collated particularly for those of us who will have the time and the chance to go, to please make your names available or have your tickets. It is going to hold in Uyo.
” The venue has not changed; it is only the time that has been slightly adjusted because of the inauguration of the new governors and president that is coming on the 29th of May.
“So, slight adjustments have been made. And in the interactions we have made, our leaders have authoritatively told us that they have not given mandates to their members-elect to either identify with either Mr A or Mr B. The only mandate and directive they gave to their people is to network, interact and ensure that they collate what is going on and give them the feedback; that at the appropriate time decisions would be reached, directives would be given, alliances would be formed and as minorities, we would be told or there would be some kind of agreement as to which direction to go.
“So, as I stand here, I don’t have any mandate from my party or my governor as to what to do. But interestingly, all our leaders are excited and happy that we have been able to mobilise ourselves together, meeting, networking and being able to show that we are a strong minority group that is ready to stand to the expectations of the 10th House of Reps.
“We are ready to deepen democracy. We are ready to stand up for the people of our constituencies and more particularly for the teeming Nigerians that are suffering. If we are unable to do anything to alleviate their plights, then we could also be regarded as people who may fail Nigeria in the 10th Assembly. So, we were challenged by our leaders to stand up to our mandates and tasks.”
Members-elect of seven opposition political parties make up the “Greater Majority” and they are the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Labour Party (LP), New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), People’s Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP).