The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Wase, on Friday in Abuja vowed not to withdraw from the race for the Office of Speaker of the 10th National Assembly.
This is despite the decision of the governing party, the All Progressives Congress, which zoned the office to the North-East.
“I am in the race! And by the grace of God, I am going to conclude the race. I have not withdrawn or stepped down for anybody,” Wase told State House Correspondents on Friday after meeting the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
On Wednesday, the outgoing Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the Joint Task – 10th Assembly, a coalition of members-elect of the APC and opposition parties had adopted the anointed candidates of the APC for Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu, respectively, for the 10th House.
He said the APC gave the North-West the Speakership and Deputy Senate Presidency to compensate the zone.
However, Wase argued that the APC National Working Committee letter, which outlined the zoning as advisory, also allows for continued discussions on the matter.
He said the advisory nature of the letter contradicts the 1999 Constitution, Section 14(4) as amended, which states that the composition of the government, including its agencies, should reflect federal character.
The outgoing deputy speaker said ignoring the deputy speakership for his zone not only flouts the federal character, but also ignores the enormous support and votes his region gave to the APC in the last elections.
He added, “I am not just speaking for myself. You can’t bring a deputy senate president, but you can give us the deputy speaker role. You cannot neglect us, even though we have given one of the best outcomes in terms of voting and support to the government.”