Ahead of the Speakership election in the Tenth National Assembly, lawmakers under the aegis of multi-platform initiative, ‘Joint Task Forum’ hold inaugural ceremony, debunks insinuation about the group being backed by incumbent Speaker, Gbajabiamila
The Joint Task -Tenth National Assembly Forum has pledged to abide by the zoning arrangement of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) despite being a multi-partisan group.
The forum consists of lawmakers-elect from all eight political parties with seats in the House of Representatives.
Rep. Usman Bello Kumo (APC, Gombe), speaking on behalf of the group, informed journalists during the inaugural ceremony of the Forum on Tuesday in Abuja that the eight political parties decided to come together to promote governance, equity and fairness in the balance of the emergence of 10th Assembly Presiding Officers.
“It gladdens my heart to stand before you today on the occasion of the inauguration of the ‘Joint Task – 10th Assembly.’ The issue at stake is the leadership of the incoming 10th House of Representatives.
As you can see from our banner, the name of this coalition is ‘Joint Task – 10th Assembly.’ We are a multi-partisan forum of the eight political parties that have won seats for the 10th House of Representatives. Although our logo displays the names of the political parties that make up this forum, it is pertinent to list them individually. The political parties are the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP), the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the Young Progressives Party (YPP).”
Kumo also disclosed that the forum is not supporting or taking sides with any candidate but intends to take a critical look at the track record, character and behaviour of persons that become the next presiding officers of the 10th Assembly, positions they say are non-negotiable.
“The ‘Joint Task – 10th Assembly’ seeks to, among other things, promote the independence of the Legislature; Inter-dependence of the Legislature and Executive; Legislation for good governance and grassroots impact; Constituency Outreach; Equity and Fairness among ranking and new members; Ensure unity, equity and fairness in the emergence of Presiding and Principal Officers in line with best parliamentary practice.
Our driving force is ‘Nigeria’s Unity and the Stability of the 10th House of Representatives. In ensuring the above, we have resolved to go by the decision of the majority party, which is the APC, in deciding which zones produce the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker. We believe that the APC would do the right thing, and once the zoning is done, we will decide on the next line of action. We would be guided by capacity, competence, experience and other leadership qualities.
However, as of today, ladies and gentlemen, we do not have any preferred aspirant for the office of Speaker and Deputy Speaker but we note that a number of our colleagues, all of whom are eminently qualified, have declared their interest in the seat of Speaker. Our message to Nigerians at this point is that we are ready to work for the betterment of our country and the citizens. To achieve that, we have to work harmoniously with the Executive Arm without compromising our independence. Let me emphasise in conclusion that our concern is ‘Nigeria’s Unity and the Stability of the 10th House of Representatives.”
Meanwhile, the forum denied insinuations that it is being backed by the current Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.
“Nobody, I repeat, nobody can manipulate this group you are seeing here, and if you observe, we have members from the six (6) geopolitical zones, and we have members here representing all the political parties. And let me also state here that we won elections based on merit and rose through the ladder of prosperity.
In view of this, I am telling you that Femi Gbajabiamila is not behind this group. Femi did not constitute this group. We thought that in every Assembly, we should have men of integrity, like wise men who will not necessarily contest but be behind the scenes and ensure a stable house. That is how we are going to discuss Nigeria, and you know Nigeria is a cosmopolitan country, and some of us want to ensure that the project sees the light of the day. So, Femi is not behind this project,” Kumo insisted.