As the race for Speakership of the House of Representatives intensifies, a prominent group of the ruling party under the aegis of the Progressives Foundational Movement has thrown its weight behind the micro-zoning of the position to popular Kaduna lawmaker, Tajudeen Abass, in the 10th National Assembly.
The group also pleaded with the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress not to bow to pressure and subtle threat to remove Abbas from the list of anointed candidates.
The appeal was contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by PFM National Coordinator, Aganaba Johnson.
The PUNCH had reported how the ruling APC zoned the seat of Speaker to Abass, while South East lawmaker, Benjamin Kalu, was pencilled as the Deputy Speaker slot.
But following backlash from other aspirants and their allies, the ruling party played down its decision saying the selections were ‘not cast in stone.’
The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, who was featured on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ on Tuesday disclosed that the nominations of former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godwill Akpabio, and Abbas Tajudeen can still be changed as every party member is free to contest elective positions.
Reacting to the party’s attempt to review the list, Johnson revealed in his statement that Abbas, apart from his academic excellence and a proven track record of leadership in public service, was a member of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, one of the political parties that merged to form the APC.
He said “It will amount to injustice against the defunct CPC members in the APC if other defunct parties like Action Congress of Nigeria that produced the President-elect, the defunct All Nigerians Peoples Party produced Vice President-elect and the New Peoples Democratic Party is allowed to Produce the Senate President. Then Hon. Tajudeen Abbas should be given the opportunity to represent the defunct CPC as Speaker House of Representatives.”
Continuing, the lawyer noted that Abbas’s productive and enviable record of sponsoring 20 of his 78 assented Bills in the 9th Assembly singled him out as the best among all the contenders for the Speaker seat.
He commended Tinubu and Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led NWC to resist all forms of pressure and blackmail by allowing supremacy of the party’s decision to stand.
“We appealed to all aggrieved aspirants not to rock the boat but work for the success of the party and the larger interest of the nation.
“There is no need to gang up against the anointed candidates and the party because the opposition is waiting in the wings to exploit your differences. Please, do not throw the party into disarray because of leadership positions.
“Ahmed Wase is the Deputy Speaker today courtesy of the party’s benevolence ditto Alhassan Ado Doguwa as leader of the House and Muktar Betara who chairs the Committee of Appropriation. The party gave all of you the platform on which you contested for elections, so this is payback time.
“We have a vested interest in the success of the President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration starting from May 29 this year and this can only be achieved if the ongoing cordial relationship between the Executive and Legislative arms is sustained.
“Never again should we return to the era of acrimonious relationship between the executive and legislative arms experienced during the tenure of Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan and even during the first tenure of our outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari between 2015 -2019.”