Jostle for NASS headship heightens
Southeast group drums support for Lawan By Seye Olumide THE South East Chapter of National Coalition for Good Governance has pleaded with the Senators-elect to elect Senator Ahmad Ibrahin Lawan as the President of Senate.
Citing consistency in character, capacity and competence as part of the qualities possessed by Lawan, the group said that the Upper Chamber would fare well under his leadership in the next four years.
The group, which consists of a number of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), in a statement said from its analysis of governance, the nation would require a stable, visionary and purposeful National Assembly, which Lawan will guarantee.
The Southeast Coordinator, Eze Odiri said that in analysing all contenders for the post “Lawan, having scored so high in the areas of consistency, character and competence, we strongly appealed to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators-elect to please do the needful for the sake of posterity by electing him as the President of Senate.”
Expatiating on the group’s findings, Odiri said Senator Lawan had exhibited consistency in many areas, especially in party membership, stressing that he “has consistently been a member of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) until it merged with other parties to form APC.”
According to him, “Consistency in political party affiliations points to character and dependability, which are critical to the person who will occupy the office of the President of Senate.
This means that the person has no excess luggage or encumbrance, which can bring a smear on the office and the institution.” Odiri also noted that since the return to democratic governance in 1999, Lawan has consistently been in the National Assembly viz, House of Representative from 1999 to 2007 when he moved to the Senate where he has been till date.
Listing some of the committees where Lawan has functioned, Odiri said, “He (Lawan) served as Chairman, House of Rep on Agriculture 2003-2005; Chairman, House of Rep Committee on Education-2005-2007 and Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts 2007-2015.”
This outstanding attribute qualifies him for the Office of the President of Senate/Chairman of National Assembly in a regime that has promised to fight corruption. His consistency and character has brought to bear in the outstanding manner he has managed all the committees he has chaired since entering the National Assembly.”
The group appealed to the Senators-elect to take cognisance of the fact that Senator Lawan’s Chairmanship of Committees on Agriculture, Education and Public Accounts and membership of other committees for a consistent period of 16 years in the National Assembly has exposed him to critical issues in National Development and good governance.
“There is a great difference between a legislator who has consistently been in the National Assembly [House of Representatives and Senate] and one who was once in the House and now in the Senate. As important as being in both chambers at one time or the other may be, activities or committee responsibilities bring out the best experience required for the office of the President of Senate.”
Northern group wants a Christian From Kanayo Umeh, Abuja A political pressure group, Arewa Progressive Front for Change has called on leaders from the North to consider the choice of a Northern Christian for the position of Senate president.
This call was made during a press briefing held in Abuja where the group lamented the marginalisation of Northern Christians in the alleging that Christians are only remembered as part of the north during the agitation process but forgotten after the battle.
In a statement signed by Ibrahim Abubakar and Comrade Isaac Ikpa, National President and Secretary General respectively, the group called on the leadership of the APC and elected members to ensure that the zoning formula accommodates all interest most especially religion.
According to the group “the consideration of a Christian candidate will further quell rumours and insinuations that the APC is an Islamic set-up to foster a mono-religious agenda in Nigeria.
There have been rumours that the APC is an Islamic party and as such we believe that the party leadership will do well to dispell such allegations by allowing and supporting the choice of a Northern Christian for the position especially the North Central which has been largely believed to be marginalised politically by the Hausa -Fulani dominated North”.
The group hinted that the President-elect has passed virtually all the acid tests to prove to Nigerians that he is a repented democrat and needs to cap it once and for all in the choice of his party in who administers the affairs of the National Assembly.
The group however stated that even though their clamour for the zoning of the position was borne out of genuine love for the nation and unity of all the component units of the Nigerian state, “there should be consideration based on ranking and contribution to the building of the party in the region as this will in itself serve as encouragement for other party members”.
Former Speakers pledge support for Iriase, North-Central caucus backs Dogara From Terhemba Daka, Abuja The Conference of Former Speakers, State Houses of Assemblies yesterday pledged their support for the Speakership bid of one of their own, Pally Iriase (Edo/APC) as they also renewed the call for their inclusion to draw retirement remuneration like their counterparts in the Executive and Judicial arms of government.
Addressing newsmen at the National Assembly, chairman of the group, Friday Itulah said Iriase as former Deputy Speaker of the Edo state House of Assembly and two-term House of Representatives member possessed the requisite knowledge and experience needed to lead the House in the 8th Assembly.
The briefing was attending by 16 former Speakers from Niger, Ondo, Edo, Nasarawa, Delta, Kogi, Cross River, Sokoto, Abia, Imo, Anambra and Bauchi states and they said, “All of us are in support of any of our members becoming the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
We all know that if you have been a Presiding Officer at the state level, you will be able to do it better at the national level because it involved the same principles.
“If you are able to carry your members along successfully at the state level, chances are that at the national level, you will be able to do it very well. Experience as they say is the best teacher. For us, we are in full support.”
In another development the North Central caucus in the Lower Chamber has thrown its weight behind the candidature of the Chairman of the Committee on House Services and Welfare, Yakubu Dogara as Speaker.
Dogara, a third-term lawmaker in the parliament last week officially declared his intention to vie for the position of the Speaker of the 8th Assembly of the Chamber to be inaugurated in June. Although the majority APC is yet to decide on where to zone its key leadership positions, the caucus in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja said members from the six states of the region and the Federal Capital Territory have resolved to give Dogara “bloc votes” next month when the House is inaugurated.
The statement, jointly signed by the group comprising serving and newly elected members of the House of Representatives from the zone, read in part:
“The North Central zonal caucuses of the House of Representatives hereby announce its endorsement of Hon. Yakubu Dogara as Speaker of the House in the next assembly.
We have resolved to deliver bloc votes to Dogara during the election and ensure that we further canvass for votes and supports for him from other zones.
“We are pleased with his aspiration which is motivated by selfless service, the desire to consolidate on the gains of the 7TH Assembly recorded under the leadership of Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal from 2011 to date.
“We must strive hard to sustain and consolidate on the giant strides made by the Tambuwal leadership and that is why only personalities like Dogara have the capacity to lead the next assembly. His legal background of 22 years experience, composure, humility and intellect readily comes to mind.
“Since he took over the leadership of the House Services and Welfare Committee in the 6th Assembly, Dogara has been exemplary in the running of the Committee.
“In light of the above, we are calling on all elected members from different parts of the country to come onboard this movement and consolidate on the gains of the seventh assembly. We also urge all well-meaning Nigerians to support this project as Nigeria needs credible people to help President-elect General Muhammadu Buhari to succeed in effecting the much needed change in our polity.