The spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Minority Caucus in the 10th House of Representatives, Dachung Bagos, has spoken out against the nomination of candidates for Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives candidates by the majority All Progressives Congress (APC).
The APC National Working Committee (NWC), on Monday, announced that it had zoned the leadership of the 10th National Assembly.
The party revealed that its picks for Senate President and Speaker were Akwa Ibom senator Godswill Akpabio and a member representing Kaduna State, Abass Tajudeen, respectively.
According to him, the sacredness of the Lower Chamber is enshrined in Section 50 (1) (a) and (b) of the Constitution. He explained that the cited portion of the law provides that “there shall be a speaker and a deputy speaker to be elected among members” — ‘by themselves”, arguing that the law did not account for nominations by any party “thinking that it’s the majority”.
Bagos added that the sacredness of the Green Chamber ensured only its 360 members could decide who would become its speaker and deputy speaker.
“I’m from the opposition, which is the greater majority. I usually don’t understand how some people do their political calculations. When you have a House where the minority parties are 183 against your own party which is 177, you sit down in a room, take tea and just allocate positions,” he said.
“We have the majority; they don’t have the majority. They have the majority as an individual party but we have the majority as minority parties. That’s why we call ourselves the greater majority.”
The deputy chairman, House Committee on Anti-Corruption stated that the opposition benefits from a “greatness” that stems from the numerical advantage of the minority parties, which he argued made them an “indivisible bloc”.
He described the minority parties as “very united”, saying they had conducted their first and second extraordinary sessions ahead of the inauguration of the 10th House of Representatives in June.
“If you had followed us, you would have seen that we were all there. We had a vote in even taking decisions because we knew the APC would do its kangaroo arrangement. We said, ‘With our 183, we are going to contest for the speakership and the deputy speakership of the House’,” the minority spokesman said.
“We have put in an 11-man screening committee and we have opened it up to all the members — whosoever is interesting should come forward, unless we don’t have anyone that is interested to run before the opposition will go back, look at our resolutions and say, ‘What can we now look within the other party?’
“But then as it is now, we are contesting for the speakership. But like I said unless we don’t have a nomination, people that are interested. All the people that have come out now contesting came out that ‘we want to contest’, not that someone told them to go and contest.”
According to him, the first port of call for screening their candidates for the top National Assembly positions.
Bagos disclosed that the Reps resolved that even in the event that they had no speakership nominee but one for deputy speakership, the opposition members would “still go for it”.
He added, “But for the two presiding positions of the House, the opposition — the greater majority — is going for them.”