Wase, Betara, other aspirants protest against Abass’ candidacy

adff idris wase
adff idris wase

Frontline aspirants for the position of the Speaker for House of Representatives on Wednesday stormed the secretariat of the ruling All Progressives Congress to register their displeasure over what they described as “imposition of consensus candidates” ahead of the 10th Assembly inauguration.

had reported how the ruling APC zoned the seat of Speaker to popular Kaduna lawmaker, Tajudeen Abass, while the reps-elect from South East, Benjamin Kalu, clinched the Deputy Speaker slot.

But following backlash from other aspirants and their allies, the ruling party played down its decision saying the selections were “not cast on stone.”

The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, who featured on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ on Tuesday disclosed that the nominations of former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godwill Akpabio, and Abbas Tajudeen can still be changed as every party member is free to contest elective positions.

But some of the aggrieved lawmakers vying for the position of Speaker rallied themselves and stormed the national headquarters of the ruling party seeking an explanation to the adopted zoning formula.

The delegation, which was led by Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Idris Wase, held a crucial meeting with the Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee shortly after their arrival.

In attendance were Sani Jaji (Zamfara), Yusuf Gagdi (Plateau); Muktar Betara (Borno), Mariam Onuoha (Imo), Sada Soli (Kastina); Femi Bamishile (Ekiti), Abubakar Nakraba (Nasarawa) and Ahmed Jaha (Borno).

While accusing the leadership of the ruling party of betraying the trust of the lawmakers through its sudden imposition of candidates, Wase lamented that the APC leadership did not even deem it fit to consult with them before taking its decision.

He said, “You recall in one of the meetings which you (Adamu) summoned us to the Villa with the vice president. You told us to step down and wait for a zoning arrangement. While doing that, as politicians, we slowed things but everybody continues the fight to get the favour of our colleagues. Some of us have tried also to reach out to Members of the NWC and critical stakeholders around the country to ensure that we have their buy-in.

“Unfortunately, you also told us to slow down further because of the governorship election so that the party will not be distracted while we wait for another meeting that will be convened. That meeting didn’t come to fruition. Those of us who are here aspiring were not called for that meeting. (Instead) what we saw on social media was (that position was) micro-zoned to particular individuals, saying these are the people that had been picked by the party.

“As I speak to you, Sir, I want to say categorically that none of us here was approached or consulted even for a second to seek our opinion on what was going to be done. While trying to convince ourselves it was one of social media reports, we saw the spokesman of our party on television confirming that there was actual negotiation or consultation that resulted in the list (of consensus candidates) produced. It is unfortunate.

“Your Excellency, we feel betrayed by that action. We feel as if our contributions are not recognized and that we are not members of this family. We feel that we have given our best but now the best is no longer needed.”

Reacting to the lawmakers, the national chairman of the APC called for restraint and understanding, stressing that they are still consulting with stakeholders.

Adamu also argued that the party had previously warned many of the aspirants at a previous meeting to allow the president-elect, NWC members and other stakeholders take a decision before raising their hope.

He noted, “We have listened to you and don’t intend to open discussions right now in respect of your submissions. When you listen to the release from this office, we did say very clearly that we would endeavour to do more consultations to carry along with us the greater number of members of this great party.

“There is nothing we do that may not be challenged here and there. But let us be able to attend the best possible means to consult with people and give them their right of fair hearing before we can say we are changing positions or not. We will re-invite all Senators and House of reps-elect in due course after the National Assembly election. By the time we have invited you to the last meeting at the banquet hall, a number of you have started canvassing for these positions you are interested in. I remember vividly, I did advise that the meeting was not to talk about zoning.

“I want to thank you for not coming with this kind of “Wuru-wuru underground” and didn’t follow the backdoor to talk to us. But you chose to come very openly. Nigerians will hear better what we have just said. I plead with you in good conscience to give us a little time to take a good and better look at your presentation and open our ears and eyes the more before we can come with the finality of your submission and the outcome of it.”