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Next Speaker: Another voice of reason

The cacophony of voices trailing the definitive stance of the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) leadership on who emerges President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Ninth National Assembly are clear signs that the winds of change across our country. And these winds of change, the APC leadership need to reckon with. Most loyal party men and women who have been sounding this note of warning to the leadership of the party are only doing that out of their legitimate concern about the future of the ruling APC. After the disturbing incidence of 2015 when Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara emerged Senate president and speaker of the House of Reps against the wishes of the ruling party, many thought the APC will urgently put its house in order and stave off any such occurrence.

Alas! The party seems to be misreading the message, especially the unobtrusive steps of some wily Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members plotting surprises during the inauguration of the ninth Assembly. Those of us yearning for speedy manifestation of the positive change promised by President Buhari dread any thought of recurrence of the near hopeless situation when both Saraki and Dogara transmuted into the real enemies of the Nigerian people, frustrating various moves of the president to deliver on his promises. This is why people like me won’t stop drumming this plain truth in the ears of the APC leadership: our collective triumph as a nation revolves primarily around enthroning an equitable and just polity.

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Apparently, the Adams Oshiomhole led NWC needs to be reminded that it cannot put forward Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila from the South West to occupy the No.4 position in Nigeria at exactly the same time when the No.2 citizen, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is from the same region. No matter how loyal, members-elect may not sheepishly ratify such injustice in this day and age. We must understand that the wind of change is blowing across the world, and Nigerians are no less impacted by such breeze. As a British poet once said: “When the winds of change blow hard enough, the most trivial of things can turn into deadly projectiles”. I’m by no means calling for spillage of blood over the Speaker’s slot. However, the APC should not foreclose series of drama at the inauguration of the House of Representatives in June, if it sticks with its unjust position.

An absurd theatre can’t be ruled out if the APC leadership insists on foisting Gbajabiamila on the House against the wishes of majority of members-elect, including over 100 from the opposition parties. Worse still, throwing up two South West personalities to such highly strategic positions of Nos. 2 and 4 in the land is a gross violation of an extant constitutional provision relating to Federal Character. Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended says: “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies shall be carried out in a manner as to reflect the Federal Character of Nigeria, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few ethnic or sectional groups in that Government or any of its agencies, in order to command loyalty and peaceful coexistence”.

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If there is every sense of justice and fairness, it’s to be expected that members-elect will readily cue into decisions arrived at through the party’s echelon. So, I honestly believe that it’s not late for the APC to make amends. Everything should be done to give a sense of belonging, particularly in regards to power sharing among the six geopolitical zones. Oshiomhole and his team should hasten to rezone the Speaker’s seat to the North Central where there are at least three eminently qualified candidates to lead the House of Reps. These include my kinsman, Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, who is my preferred candidate for the post, not for any selfish reason but for obvious facts highlighted by numerous writers on this and other platforms. A very loyal member of the APC, Hon. Idris, who represents Wase Federal Constituency of Plateau State, is, aside his wonderful profile in public service, also a person with a very healthy ego. This is a necessary ingredient for the stability of such an omnibus chamber that is often an assemblage of young, rambunctious people from across Nigeria. Though a minority Muslim from our predominantly Christian populated Plateau, the name Maje as he is fondly called back home, rings a bell all across our state due to his liberal, temperate and humanitarian character. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have a vote in this upcoming contest.

Apart from Wase, there are other candidates from the North Central like Hon. John Dyegh from Benue State, as well as Hon. Mohammed Bago from Niger State.

Zoning the position of the House Speaker to the North Central, particularly with the pivotal role the region played in the re-election of President Buhari in the just concluded elections, would have drastically reduced the ongoing power struggle by members-elect, some even from the North East and South East zones. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine.

Naanbam wrote this piece from Jos, Plateau State

 

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