10th NASS Speakership: Don’t expect us to be loyal if your preferred choice stands – G7 tells APC

Following the zoning arrangement for National Assembly leadership positions released on Monday by the National Working Committee, NWC, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, seven aspirants for the Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives have come together under the G7 platform to reject the declaration.

The members of the G7 group are Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon Ahmed Idris Wase; Hon. Yusuf Gagdi, Hon. Mukhtar Aliyu Betara, Hon. Sada Soli. Hon. Aminu Sani Jaji. Hon. Mariam Onuoha and House of Representatives Majority Leader, Hon. Al Hassan Doguwa.

The G7 lawmakers, during a meeting with the APC NWC members in Abuja on Wednesday, described the zoning arrangement as unfair, unjust and inequitable and threatened to oppose any attempts by outside forces to impose a leadership on the 10th House of Representatives.

Hon. Mukhtar Aliyu Betara, while addressing the APC Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, said, “I supported every member of APC and some of our leaders contesting for elections when we were going in for the election. I was shocked when I heard that I did anti-party. My unit is in Biu. My result is in INEC. You can request my result for my unit. If I did anti-party, it is going to show.

“Another thing I need to clear here, sir, i was told that the same group are saying I gave monies to a presidential aspirant. So if there is any transfer to anybody, the banks are there. I want to still tell you as leaders if I should give money to a presidential aspirant and he wins, what is he going to give me? On my own, I want to become speaker in my party. If another party wins, can I become speaker? No. So we don’t need to blackmail ourselves. Politics is about give and take.

“Our colleagues here can testify, I have done well for the National Assembly when I was Chairman of the Army, Chairman of Defence and now Appropriations. Sir, I have 38 members, including my deputy chairman of the Appropriations Committee and me, but for me to stabilise the House, I co-opted 100 members to my committee just for me to stabilise the House for Femi. But today, we are aspiring for the speakership, the deputy speaker, the House leader, myself, Gagdi, Miriam, Sada, etc.

“We are not against our leaders, but if we should sit down and say sit amongst yourselves and pick somebody you think you can work with, it is easy, but the person the speaker is trying to even pick there are some of our colleagues that don’t know him. That’s the truth, I am not lying. If today the party said we zoned to the north west, I have to sit and think because now the party is zoning the deputy senate president and the speaker to the same zone. We have been in this Assembly. There is no time that two presiding officers are zoned to one area. It has never happened.”

Also, Speaking Hon. Gagdi emphasised that the proposed arrangement by the NWC was wrong, stating that ”the party should not hope that our loyalty will be guaranteed at the detriment of justice, peace and fairness. We will respect justice, unity and equity in the chamber, but only if your instruction is in line with the principle of this party. Do not hope that we have come here to succumb to any instruction and directive given to us.’’

‘’Do we want unity, to say that the Deputy Senate President should go to North West and the Speaker should go to North West when in the true sense of the word, sir, in the presidential election, North-Central known to have majority number of Christians, with utmost apologies let me say this, and the religious and tribal affiliations attributed to 2023 elections, yet North Central resisted the temptation, delivered four states to the President-elect, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu; delivered 11 senators.

“The North-west delivered 10 with two states and North-east 1 State with ten senators, and the zone that has performed like this for Mr President will be relegated to have party chairman and perhaps, as they insinuate, Secretary to the Government of the Federation; positions that the president or whosoever can scream at them and they have no locus to speak for the people of North-central. We need fairness. We need justice.”