...By Jack Sylva for TDPel Media.
The consensus candidate of the ruling All Progressive Candidate (APC) for the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives in the upcoming 10th National Assembly, Tajudeen Abbas, appears to be facing a crisis.
Lawmakers have refused to attend a meeting called by the current Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, aimed at promoting Abbas’ candidacy.
The APC National Working Committee (NWC) had previously assigned the Senate presidency to the South-South region and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to the North-West.
Senator Godswill Akpabio was announced as the consensus candidate for the Senate presidency, with Senator Jibrin Barau as his deputy.
The party designated a Kaduna lawmaker, Abbas, as the candidate for the Speakership, while Ben Kalu from the South-East secured the Deputy Speaker position.
However, other contenders for the Speaker position have expressed their opposition to the party’s choice, calling for Abbas to be removed as the consensus candidate.
According to a source present at the meeting called by Gbajabiamila, the Speaker was unhappy with the turnout.
The source, who won a seat in the house under the Labour Party, revealed that the meeting was intended for both new and returning members.
However, only a few members attended, mostly newcomers like the source, who were unaware that the purpose of the gathering was to discuss the candidacy.
The source expressed disappointment, stating, “Gbaja was not happy seeing the number of lawmakers in attendance, and I think he has sensed danger, as an experienced politician, that his preferred candidate won’t succeed.
Some of my colleagues understood the reason for the meeting, but innocent me, like a few of my friends whom I interacted with in the hall, didn’t grasp the purpose behind the invitation until we arrived.
We decided to sit and listen to whatever they had to say.”
The source further expressed disappointment at the low turnout, believing that the APC members would have attended in larger numbers, given that Abbas was their party’s selected candidate.
However, since their own members failed to honor the meeting, the source questioned whether minority members like themselves would support the APC.
They emphasized that although they outnumbered the APC members, they would not be used to promote mediocrity or support a rubber-stamp Assembly.
Upholding the Independence of the National Assembly
The source stressed that the National Assembly should function as an independent arm of government rather than serving as a subordinate entity.
They emphasized, “The institution of the National Assembly is supposed to be an independent arm of government and not an appendage of another arm of government.”