The House of Representatives member-elect for Bwari/AMAC federal constituency under the platform of the Labour Party (LP), Joshua Chinedu Obika, has ruled out the possibility of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) determining who becomes the next Speaker of the House in the incoming 10th National Assembly
According to him, with the opposition now a silent majority in the House, the next Speaker can only emerge by merit.
Currently, there are no fewer than 10 APC members-elect jostling to become the next House of Representatives speaker. Aside from the alleged “confusion” in the APC, the opposition parties have 181 members-elect compared to APC’s 179 and so can, if united, produce the leaders of the House.
Following the conclusion of the elections, the APC won a majority of 179 seats beating the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, 114 seats; Labour Party, LP, 35; New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP, 19; All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA,5; Social Democratic Party, SDP, 2; African Democratic Congress, ADC, 2; and Young Progressives Party, YPP, 2.
Obika who said he was motivated to contest in the 2023 general election by the passing into law of the Electoral Act and the use of BVAS, explained that the majority in the house are the silent majority, as their numbers today outweigh that of the APC.
Accordingly, the federal lawmaker advised the APC to keep mute on the issue of zoning for the Speakership position because the crop of members elected to the 10th House does care about producing a speaker along party lines.
Obika said, “So, my advice to APC is to be silent on the issue of zoning of the House of Representatives because they do not have the majority number. Some of us in the opposition are still willing, knowing that based on the different parties, we are the majority. We can understand that, and we are still willing to work with the APC representatives because as far as we are in the House, we are careless about the political party. We want the best among us to lead us because this time it is going to be different.
“We have seven political parties in this 10th Assembly- PDP, SDP, LP, YPP, AP, and YDP. We have so many parties and the people who understand what is happening in this country know why because Nigerians want change and they do not care about the vehicle. All they care about is the change.
“So, APC cannot determine the next Speaker of the 10th Assembly. The APC may still produce the Speaker of the 10th Assembly but they cannot determine who the Speaker of the 10th Assembly should be.”
Obika also called for a state of emergency on education in the FCT, just as he lamented the poor state of education in the nation’s capital.
The member-elect called for a proper look at political appointments in FCT, noting that there should be criteria for picking people for appointment in FCT.
Part of the criteria, Obika added, is to make sure that the qualified person must pay taxes in FCT and contribute to the growth of the FCT.
“You cannot come and be part of FCT administration and you are not contributing for FCT”, he stated.
“The Labour Congress which is part of the party has already come to say we are one. The elected members of the House are saying we are one, the federal executive members of the party are saying we are one, and all the state chairmen of the party are saying we are one. Who are the members of the factions
“We do not have factions but just people who are parading themselves. They do not have legitimacy. If there is a case and the court says the party chairman is removed it does not mean that the party has factions. The case is still there in the court. You people should not take advantage of that and say the party is having factions. Labour is one.”
The caucus also dismissed claims that its members were beginning to drift apart with the 35 members-elect of the LP, which chose Mr. Afam Ogene as its leader, saying they would vote as a block and were still weighing their options on the choice of a candidate.
One of the spokespersons of the Minority Caucus also known as “Greater Majority,” Afam Ogene said in a statement that the fact that over 10 persons were still jostling for the speakership barely five weeks before the inauguration of the new Assembly was an indication that APC’s house was not in order.
There are speculations that the APC and president-elect had endorsed Mr. Tajudeen Abbas representing Zaria federal constituency of Kaduna State for speaker.
However, more APC members-elect have continued to join the race with the latest being the leader of the outgoing House, Alhassan Doguwa and the chairman, Committee on Navy. Yusuf Gagdi.
Meanwhile, barring any last-minute eventuality, the chairman, committee on Appropriations, Aliyu Betara, a leading aspirant will formally declare this morning.
Betara may be joined by about 200 members-elect at the event as a mark of endorsement.