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Speakership race: Lawmakers-elect of minority parties set up committee to pick consensus candidate


A coalition of members-elect of the minority parties have set up a committee to produce consensus candidates for the positions of the speaker and deputy speaker of the House of Representatives from their ranks

The members-elect, drawn from the seven minority parties, in a statement on Monday, said they would use their numerical strength to produce the presiding officers of the lower House.

The parties are the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Social Democratic Party (SDP), African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the Young Progressive Party (YPP).

The 10th National Assembly will be inaugurated in June.

The members-elect, in the statement, signed by the trio of Dachung Bagos (PDP, Plateau) Afam Ogene (LP, Anambra) and Gaza Gbefwi (SDP, Nasarawa), said they will use their numerical strength of188 in the 360-member House to create upset against the All Progressives Congress (APC) which has 177 members-elect.

“Our position is further buoyed by our dominant numerical strength, which by Parliamentary ethos, precedent and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, As Amended, allows us to contest the Presiding Officers position.

“Since emerging as the “Greater Majority,” with a combined Members-Elect tally of 183, as against the APC’s total of 177, history beckons on us to constructively, and creatively, chart the path towards the deepening of our nation’s democracy,” they said.

To find suitable candidates for the two positions, the bloc of minority parties set up a 13-man committee drawn from different parties. The committee is chaired by the most senior lawmaker in the House, Nicholas Mutu (PDP, Delta), who has been in the lower chamber since 1999.

According to the statement, the committee has the mandate to shortlist, screen and eventually recommend aspirants for the speakership and deputy speaker positions.

Mr Mutu is to be deputised by Abdulmumini Jibrin, a member-elect on the platform of the NNPP from Kano, while Mr Ogene will serve as the secretary.

Other members of the committee are Oluwole Oke (PDP) Gaza Gbefwi (SDP), Beni Lar (PDP), Ali Isa (PDP), Kabiru Rurum (NNPP ), Donatus Kuzalio (LP), Yusuf Majigiri (PDP) and Nnabuife Clara (YPP).

Gwacham Chinwe PGA and Idris Salman (ADC) are also members of the committee.

Recall that the ruling party adopted Tajudeen Abbas, a lawmaker from Kaduna State as the consensus candidate for the speaker, and Ben Kalu, a lawmaker from Abia State, as deputy speaker.

Aside from Messrs Abbas and Kalu, there are still nine other lawmakers that have declared interest in the race in the ruling party.

They are the Incumbent Deputy Speaker Idris Wase (Plateau) Yusuf Gagdi (Plateau) Sada Soli (Katsina), Muktar Betara (Borno) Tunji Olawuyi (Kwara), Abubakar Makki (Jigawa), Aminu Jaji (APC, Zamfara), Ben Kalu (Abia), Ado Doguwa (Kano), and Miriam Onuoha (Imo).


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