By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress(APC), “anointed candidates” for the position of Speaker and deputy speaker for the 10th House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, and Benjamin Kalu respectively on Thursday, met behind closed doors with President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting came on the heels of the inauguration of the 10th leadership of the National Assembly slated to hold June 13, 2023.
Addressing State House correspondents after the meeting, Hon. Abbas assured that come June 13, he will be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives, while Kalu will be his deputy.
He said they came to the Presidential Villa to congratulate President Tinubu over his victory in the election and his inauguration on May 29.
The speakership candidate dispelled the rumour that the 10th assembly will be a rubber stamp, saying that nobody can manipulate the 360 members to make them do what will not be of national interest.
Abbasr added that the independence of the legislature will not be compromised under their leadership.
“My name is Hon. Tajjudeen Abbas from the National Assembly. And with me is my colleague, who, by the grace of God, come June 13, 2023 would be the next speaker insha Allah and Deputy Speaker of the 10th House of Reps of the National Assembly,” he said.
On the reason for their visit, he said, “You may recall that just two or three days ago, Mr. President, the reign of power was handed over to him on May 29. And since then, we did not have any formal interactions. We felt that it is expedient as the candidates of the party for the number four and number six positions, there is a need for us to formally congratulate him on behalf of all members elect of the 10th assembly.
“But that’s just the reason why we’re here to basically congratulate Mr. President over his election and his inauguration as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”
Asked whether they had any discussion with the President on their aspirations to lead the House, he said, “We didn’t have any discussion concerning our opponents who are also aspiring to be Speakers and Deputy speakers. We restricted our discussions to the matters of the day.
“Issues that have to do with the challenges that this country is facing, particularly the economic and social challenges and what he intends to do within the next few days, beginning with what he has been done on the issue of fuel subsidy. Issues of other candidates candidates did not form part of what we discussed with Mr. President this afternoon.”
On speculation in some quarters that they were anointed so that they will remain rubber stamp to the executive, he said, “First of all, I would want them to go back to history. Let them tell us even in the few instances where the people who were ordinarily not endorsed by the government of those days have done better than the leadership of the ninth assembly, which we all believe was about the first time in 12 years that the thinking of the members of the National Assembly coincided with the thinking of the executive.
“The ninth assembly is by far and I say it with all sense of humility, the best national assembly that the legislature and the executive had a very mutually beneficial relationship. So many things were accomplished. So many things that ordinarily we would not have thought or contemplated would be achieved were achieved.
“So whoever is talking about rubber stamp National Assembly does not know the workings of the National Assembly.
“Nobody, speaker or senate president, deputy speaker or deputy senate president, nobody can manipulate the 360 members of the House of Reps to make them do what is not in the best interest of the public.
“And we have shown from our conduct in the ninth assembly, that for the very first time, even with the cordial relationship between the executive and the legislature, we had cause for the very first time to summon Mr. President, to come to the National Assembly to address some issues of security as at that time.
“So if you’re talking about rubber stamp, I wonder if anyone can summon Mr. president to come and explain issues that ordinarily, he would have invited us to continue our office or assign somebody to come and answer our questions.
“So there has never been any compromise in the National Assembly. The autonomy of the National Assembly has always been maintained, and it will continue to be maintained. There will be no any way that the independence of our National Assembly under our leadership will be compromised. Actually this you can take to the market.”
On his part, Hon. Benjamin Kalu said, “Yes, in addition to what the speakership candidate just highlighted, what we’re bringing on board is parliamentary sovereignty. Sovereignty that will ensure that the borders of the mandate of the various arms of government will be respected.
“But also recognizing that interdependence is key towards achieving any national objective. We’re going to ensure that though we are three arms of government, that we understand that we are one government. So the national objective of the executive, if it is what the people want, will remain the national objective of the legislature.
“We are bringing on board impartiality of this man that just spoke to you now holding the gavel that will ensure that sentiments and emotions will not controlled the direction of the gavel.
That the policies that will come out will be a reflection of the needs of the people of Nigeria.
“We’re bringing on board institutional trust that will make Nigerians believe more in the institution of our democracy called the legislature which is the fulcrum of our democracy. Because the more confidence they have in that institution, the more we will advance this democracy that people like Mr. President has fought for from the days of NADECO to sustain up to now.”
He further said, “We’re bringing on board the balancing of inequalities that exists within our society. So Nigeria’s should rest assured that innovations, transformations, reforms are going to be introduced by us, not as your Mustang but as people who believe that the nation building should be a joint task involving the input of the executive and also the contribution of the legislative arm.
“This will not go without saying that the principles of checks and balances and the doctrine of separation of powers will be duly observed. So there’s nothing to be afraid of. We are coming just like any national party in any advanced democratic clime points in the direction of how they want to set up architecture of government that will help them achieve their national objective.
“It happens in the US, be it the Democrats or the Republicans. They will always say, this is the direction we want to go. It is not that they are bullying the parliament to go that direction.
But as a party, they must have a direction they want to go and that is what our party has pointed and we’re not relaxing.”
On the aggrieved members who have decided to go contrary to the choice of APC, he said, “This man (Abbas) has not slept for days. I’ve not slept. We’ve been going around trying to make sure that granted that the party has given us the platform is not conceding that that it is sufficient for us to go to bed and sleep.
“We are loving these members and begging them. Come over to our direction. And let’s make Nigeria a great nation. We are talking to all the members and we are hoping that at the end of the day, we will emerged elected.”
Edo Governorship: Intimidation, Harassment Won’t Stop me—Shaibu
Edo Deputy Governor, Mr Philip Shaibu, says intimidation and harassment will not change his resolve in the pursuit of his political ambition.
Shaibu said this while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Saturday.
Shaibu emerged the party’s candidate in a parallel primary held on Thursday to choose a standard bearer for the upcoming governorship election in Edo.
He alleged so much intimidation and harassment of people in the build up to the primary.
“The level of intimidation and harassment meted out to me and those people who believe in me was beyond comprehension, yet it does not actually change our resolve in what we believe in.
“People were sacked, some civil servants were suspended, others transferred from their position and taken away from their family comfort to different places, all because they were associating with me.
“Well, I dare say that anybody still intimidating or harassing anybody means that he is not ready to win an election“, he told newsmen.
He, therefore, said that his emergence as a candidate was no longer about him but the people, adding that it was imperative the party listened to the voice of the people.
He said if the party truly desired to win the election on Sept. 21 it would field a popular and competent candidate not impose a candidate on the people.
He also said that the PDP must adhere to the electoral laws and party guidelines to be able to win the upcoming election in the state.
He explained that there were party guidelines for electing a governorship candidate, just as there is an electoral law guiding political activities.
Shaibu further said for the PDP to win the upcoming governorship election in the state, it should adhere strictly to its own rules and guidelines.
The deputy governor also alleged that elections were about contestation, noting that the other primary that produced Mr Asue Ighodalo as its candidate disenfranchised 381 delegates.
“The electoral law forbids exclusion. An election can be re-ordered because of exclusion, it is a major sin that the law forbids“, he told newsmen.
He said though political parties have the right to produce candidates, such rights must comply with the electoral laws and the party’s own guidelines.
“If the guideline is not followed in the process of producing your candidate, that candidate cannot see the light of day.
“So the ultimate right of any party is to follow your rules in producing your candidate”, Shaibu said.
NAN recalls that Ighodalo defeated about nine other candidates including the Deputy Governor of the state in the election.
He had vote 577 votes to become the candidate of the PDP in the Sept. 21 governorship election in the state while his closest rival garnered one vote.
The Chairman, Edo PDP Primary Electoral Committee and Gov of Dauda Lawal Zamfara declared him as the winner of the exercise.
However, in a parallel exercise, Shaibu was declared winner of the election.
The returning officer, Bartholomew Moses, declared: “during the counting of this primary election, Philip Shaibu has a score of 301 votes.
“Therefore, I hereby declare Philip Shaibu as the authentic elected candidate for this election in the PDP.” (NAN)
APC ‘ ll Record Overwhelming Victory in Edo Governorship Election- Ganduje
Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) says it is almost certain that the party will win the Sept. 21 Edo governorship election, going by the qualities of its candidate Sen. Monday Okpebholo.
Ganduje said this on Saturday in Abuja when he presented the certificate of return to Okpebholo, saying that there was a need for other aspirants to work with him to ensure the party’s victory in the state.
He said that direct primaries were held in 192 wards in the state with records and video evidence, adding that Okpebholo was declared winner because he got the highest votes.
“The full cooperation, harmony and unity of all aspirants and members of our party is all we need now to win Edo in the coming election now that the primary is over.
“The party has a product that is refined, well packaged and sellable to the electorate in the person of Okpebholo and is therefore ready to win Edo,” Ganduje said.
He said that other aspirants had since congratulated Okpebholo as the party’s candidate.
Mr Nze Duru, the party’s Deputy National Organising Secretary while presenting the committee’s report to Ganduje, said the primaries was adjudge nationally and internationally to the the most peaceful, fairest and transparent in the state.
Okpebholo in his remarks, called on other aspirants who contested the party’s ticket with him to join forces with him to ensure that the APC win the Sept. 21 governorship election.
Also speaking, Sen. Lucky Imasuen one of the aspirants who contested the party’s ticket with Okpebholo said the National Working Committee (NWC)was hard working, sincere and fair in the handling of the Edo primarily election.
He commended the APC Edo Governorship Primary Election Committee for a job well done, assuring that the other aspirants would work hand in hand with Okpebholo to ensure APC’s victory at the poll.
Reports says that Dennis Idahosa was initially declared the winner of the Edo Governorship Primary Election on Feb. 17, by the Gov. Hope Uzodinma-led Governorship Primary Election Committee.
The APC NWC however, upturned Idahosa’s election and declared the election as inconclusive.
The committee slated Feb.21 for a supplementary election and replaced Uzodinma with Gov. Bassey Otu of Cross River as chairman.
Otu while declaring Okpebholo as winner of the supplementary primaries, said he got 12,433 votes to defeat 11 other aspirants in the contest.
Okpebholo currently represents Edo Central at the National Assembly(NAN)
Edo 2024: Patience Key Emerges PRP Governorship Candidate
Patience Key on Saturday emerged as the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) candidate to fly the party’s flag in the September 21 governorship election in Edo state.
Key was adopted by the party members and delegates in the primary election that took place at the PRP secretariat in Benin, and witnessed by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In her acceptance speech, Key expressed her profound gratitude to the PRP for entrusting her with the monumental responsibility.
She said that their confidence in her vision and capabilities was an honour and a call to action.
“As we stand on the cusp of historic election, I am reminded of the immense responsibility that comes with this trust.
“We envision an Edo state where economic diversification will fuel our growth in agriculture, technology and tourism.
“We envision an Edo state where every child will have access to quality education and every citizen will have access to quality healthcare and economic opportunities,” she said.
Key, who said the empowerment of women and Youth would be critical to her human capital development strategy, added that there would be an opportunity for women to participate in governance.
She, however, promised to leverage on Diaspora expertise by tapping into the wealth of knowledge and expertise of the diaspora community to develop the state.
According to her, “As we gear up for the governorship election, I call upon each one of you to stand with us.
“Together, we can realise a vision of Edo State that is not only rich in natural and economic resources but also in the talents and potentials of its people,” she added.
Reports says that Patience Ndidi Key is a healthcare professional, an entrepreneur, a strategist and President, Nigerians in Diaspora Chamber of Commerce.
She was a former chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Organisations, Americas (USA) and she hails from Igueben local government area of Edo State. (NAN)
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