Contest for Speakership thickens as 8th assembly ends

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

Nigeria's National Assembly

The House of Representatives members-elect under the main opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, said National Interest will be their guide in electing the leadership of the 9th House, scheduled to hold on Tuesday, June 11.

This followed the expiration of the 8th National Assembly on Saturday.

Member-elect from Delta State, Dr. Osai Nicholas Osai, in an interview in Abuja, said the party will look at those that will protect the National Assembly as an institution as well as drive the process of lawmaking and better legislation for the country.

“When you protect the institution you are protecting value for money, which means you are comparing a strong power for the legislature to be able to scrutinize the executive and other organs of government,”Dr. Osai stressed.

The lawmaker said members will look for individual with good relation with colleagues that will bring cohesion among members as well as synergy with other tiers of government while respecting rule of laws to move the country forward.

PDP members ‘ll ensure credible leadership

Meanwhile in a Statement, the former Minority Leader, Leo Orgor, said the party (PDP) will not leave stone un-turn in ensuring that the leadership reflect the will of Nigerians.

Mr. Ogor said PDP Members were free to relate with all Speakership Aspirants from the governing party, attend their campaigns and meeting but that the party will announce its decision before Tuesday.

In the statement, Mr. Ogor noted: “The PDP House Caucus has taken the decision with clear focus on the national interest as well as the future strategic goals of our party, we are not unaware that a few may unfortunately feel inclined to go overboard, nibbling dangerously at carrots dangled before them without adequately heeding appropriate guidelines.”

This was in reaction to an alleged report that the PDP will support Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, the preferred candidate of the governing All Progressive Congress party, the APC.

First term members adopt Gbajabiamila  

In a related development, the House of Representatives members-elect under the aegis of Forum of First Term Members have officially endorsed, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, former House leader as their candidate for the June 11th Speakership election.

The members who cut across party lines and geographical locations in a meeting in Abuja, maintained that their decision is to protect the interest of millions of Nigerians.

They said “What happened during the 8th Assembly was regrettable and that destiny of millions of Nigerians will not be mortgaged for what so ever reasons.”

Apart from Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, two other APC candidates from the North Central are still contesting the Speakership of the 9th Assembly.

They are Mr. Muhammad Umar Bago from Niger State and Dr. John Dyegh from Benue State who dwelled their campaigns on the need for equity and fairness to the North central Zone, the third in giving the APC votes in the last General election.

Synergy between the arms of government

However, media reports indicate that Dr. Dyegh will step down for Mr. Bago, report Dr. Dyegh described as baseless.

In a News Conference in Abuja, Dr. Dyegh said there was no reason for him to step down for other aspirants as alleged in some quarters.

Dr.John Dyegh said that if eventually emerged Speaker of the House, he would ensure more transparency in the running of the House and strengthening of standing Committees for a productive over sight.

He said that “The House under my Speakership would synergize with President Buhari’s Administration to deliver dividends of democracy to Nigerians.”

The Legislative/Executive Arms relations have been sweet and sour in the last four year, some say is better for the democracy while others said it indicates that the two arms are working for the benefit of the country.