Spokesperson of the Minority Caucus says the Constitution of the Federal Republic imbues every elected member with the statutory right to gun for any position, subject to the Standing Orders of the House
Following the outcome of the April 15 National Assembly Supplementary elections, membership of the Minority Caucus in the Tenth House of Representatives has swollen to 182, one vote more than the statutory benchmark required to elect a Speaker – with prospects of gaining more members.
Buoyed by its numerical superiority, the incoming Minority Caucus (Greater Majority) has now resolved to gun for the Speakership position. A development that comes amidst permutations to promote a Speakership candidate from the South-South geo-political zone and a Deputy Speaker from the North West.
Rising from an emergency meeting of the Minority Caucus leadership held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, on Wednesday, the caucus, comprising seven political parties, stated emphatically that it was primed to contest the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the 10th National Assembly.
According to a statement issued by Hon. Victor Afam Ogene, Spokesperson of the Minority Caucus, the Constitution of the Federal Republic imbues every elected member with the statutory right to gun for any position, subject to the Standing Orders of the House.
“Besides the issue of ranking, every member is entitled to run for the office of Speaker, regardless of political party affiliation.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, or indeed, any political party for that matter, reserves the right to regale itself with talks about micro-zoning leadership positions in the National Assembly. But the overriding question remains, are such fanciful engagements binding of the generality of Members-Elect? The answer today, tomorrow – and until our current constitution is altered to reflect that desire – is a big No.
Issues surrounding this all-important question are easily resolved, in the case of the House of Representatives, by Section 50 (1)(b), to wit: “There shall be a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves.”
While zoning is permitted, as an intra-party solution to the sharing of political offices, seeking to enforce such on the generality of members would be tantamount to affronting Section 50 of the Nigerian constitution.
Besides, political parties must not always use the National Assembly as guinea pigs for their zoning fancies. Why didn’t these governors summon the same courage, which they currently seek to flaunt, during the presidential primaries, by micro-zoning the presidency to a particular zone? If it was okay to say that the presidential ticket should go to the South, then I think they ought to follow through with that same template and propose, for instance, that the Speakership should go to the North,” the statement read.