A coalition of members of the House of Representatives from the eight parties that will be represented in the 10th House has agreed to respect the zoning of the leadership of the House by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The lawmakers made the commitment on Tuesday during the inauguration of the coalition, known as “Joint Task,” in Abuja.
The members of the coalition are drawn from the APC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP), the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the Young Progressive Party (YPP). However, not all the members of these parties are part of the coalition.
Speaking at the inauguration of the coalition, the co-chairman, Bello Kumo (APC, Gombe), said the lawmakers within the coalition have no candidate yet, but they are waiting for the zoning of the ruling party.
“Our message to Nigerians at this point is that we are ready to work for the betterment of our country and the citizens. To achieve that, we have to work harmoniously with the Executive Arm, without compromising our independence.
“Let me emphasise in conclusion that our concern is Nigeria’s unity and the stability of the 10th House of Representatives. I thank you very much for your time, and we hope you will work with us to make our country better,” he said.
Also speaking on the coalition, Aliyu Madaki, a member-elect on the platform of NNPP, said the lawmakers are not going to be a rubber stamp to any speaker, rather they are giving the APC the opportunity to decide the presiding officers based on international best practices.
He explained that a party with the majority is expected to produce presiding officers.
“What we want to do is to bring harmonious relationships between the executive and the legislature. I want to state very clearly, we are not going to be a rubber stamp to anybody. But we intend to do what is the world’s best practice.We recognize the fact that anywhere you go in the world, the party with the majority produces who will be the presiding officer.
“For someone like me who is a member of the minority party, I will assure Nigerians that we will provide a robust opposition but we will do it in a way and manner that will add value to the Nigerian people,” he said.
The ruling APC has 177 members-elect, while the PDP has 116 members. LP and NNPP have 36 and 19 members-elect respectively.
Others are APGA with five, ADC two, SDP two and YPP one.
Composition of officials of the Joint task
The coalition also announced that Mr Kumo and Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) are the co-chairmen of the group while Mr Madaki is the Secretary.
Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo (APC, Ondo) is the Finance Secretary, Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) is in charge of Contact and Mobilisation, and Dennis Idahosa (APC, Edo) is in charge of monitoring and intelligence.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that the governors of the ruling APC have proposed the zoning of the speakership to the North-west or North-central geopolitical.
While the lawmakers await the decision on zoning, 11 lawmakers have declared interest in the position. They are the incumbent Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase (APC, Plateau), Yusuf Gagdi (APC, Plateau), Muktar Betara (APC, Borno), Sada Soli (APC, Katsina), Tunji Olawuyi (APC, Kwara) and Abubakar Makki (APC, Jigawa) have all declared interest.
Others are Tajudeen Abbas (APC, Kaduna), Aminu Jaji (APC, Zamfara), Ben Kalu (APC, Abia), Muktar Betara (APC, Borno) and Miriam Onuoha (APC, Imo)