Some members-elect of the House of Representatives on the platforms of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP) and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) on Saturday converged in Abuja, where they resolved not to respect the decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on zoning of the speakership position.
They also argued that the emergence of Kashim Shettima as vice president-elect from the North East, does not stop the lawmaker representing Biu/Bayo/Shani Federal Constituency of Borno State, Hon. Muktar Aliyu Betara, from being elected as speaker of the 10th Assembly.
The member-elect for Obudu/Obanliku/Bekwara Federal Constituency of Cross River State, Peter Akpanke of the PDP, who spoke on behalf of his South South colleagues, after the Abuja meeting said they resolved to elect the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Betara as their next speaker, adding that the APC’s zoning arrangement won’t be binding on them.
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Akpanke, who spoke in the presence of some APC members-elect who were part of the meeting said, “All of us are not members of APC, so whatever they decide cannot be binding on us. That is their party’s decision. So if they can convince their members, that’s good for them.
“But they don’t have the numbers, we the minority members are more. They need us to be able to produce a speaker. By the way, will all members of the APC even support the party’s decision?
“Those of us in NASS want to support a speaker who is our own, a speaker who will defend democracy, someone who will protect the interests of members and help us deliver the dividends of democracy.”
In a related development, Hon. Inuwa Garba, a member-elect, Yamaltu/Deba Federal Constituency, Gombe State, said the argument in some quarters that the North East cannot produce both the Vice President and Speaker at the same time was laughable.
Garba, who is of the PDP, said, “History is there for us to see. This is not the first time that will be happening. In 1979-1983 the Speaker of the House of Representatives was from Anambra State, and the Vice President also was from Anambra State. We have same thing now. The Vice President is from the South West, likewise the Speaker. So there is a precedence.”