*Alleges PDP raising money to bribe APC members-elect
*As NWC meets with 164 new House of Reps-elect
By Ezeocha Nzeh (Group Politics Editor)
As the battle for the leadership of the 9th National Assembly hits up, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has warned its National Assembly elect members to ensure that they remain united to back the party members who would file out for election into the various principal offices of the Senate and House of Representatives.
The party’s position came even as President Muhammadu Buhari had hinted that he would run an all-inclusive government in his second tenure as President, with promises to form a government of national unity.
The AUTHORITY investigations have revealed that while Senators Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North), (Ali Ndume (Borno South) and Senator Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia North) and Senator Abdulahi Adamu (Nasarawa) are vying for the country’s number three position (Senate President), ranking House of Representatives returnees, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Olusegun Odebunmi and Nkeiruka Onyejiocha, are locked in the race for Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Addressing the newly-elected members of the House of Representatives on the APC platform on Monday, the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, challenged the new members to avoid a repeat of what transpired in 2015, when the party failed to control all key positions at the National assembly.
Oshiomhole maintained that victory at the polls were hard-earned, stressing that the party would not be ready to share power with the opposition, even at the National Assembly committee levels
He said: “We must ensure that we have a leadership of the National Assembly that shares the vision of the executive. Although we speak to separation of power, but there is only one government and unless the various organs pursue the same agenda, it is difficult for the executive to realise its purpose because legislative backing is often required for the executive actions.
“So I will expect that you bear in mind that we are one family joined together as shown in our broom, with a share commitment to bail Nigeria out of the condition in which we find it in 2015.
“And that you have the numbers. We will use those numbers to ensure that we have a leadership that commands the trust and the respect of all the members of the House of Representatives. There will be contestation, that is why we are in democracy, but after the contestation and debate, we have to agree and once you have agreed, you move forward.
“We must produce the Speaker, who must be a member of the APC; produce Deputy Speaker, who must be a member of the APC; elect a House Leader; the Chief Whip and the Deputy Whip, who must be members of the APC.
“The only position we are not interested in is the Minority Leader. Let it remain in the hands of the minors in the opposition.
“We will not share power in the House of the Representatives and the leadership must ensure that critical committees that drive government are chaired only by the APC members.
“If the Nigeria people wanted the opposition to be chairmen of committees, they would have voted for them. So, all the chairmen of committees, except one that is statutorily reserved for opposition, which is Public Accounts, they can have that.
“So, we would not do the kind of thing that happened the last time in which some APC members, as members of the leading party, became distant spectators in the management of committees, when PDP had majority of the strategic committees in the House.
“We are aware that they believe they can use the divide and rule by sponsoring many people within our ranks to contest for each of the position so that they then become the king maker and in return the person will offer them some chairmanship seats. Hon members and comrades I’m sure are not going to do business with them.
“We will see them as partners in progress but in democracy, the rule is, and it is a universal rule, majority must have their way but minority must be allowed to have their say.
While calling on the new federal lawmakers not to allow anybody to divide them, Oshiomhole assured that his leadership will hold extensive consultations with President Muhammadu Buhari and all the leaders of the APC.
“We will work out a sensible zoning formula that seeks to carry everybody along and give people chances to demonstrate their capacities and their capabilities.
“Somebody told me the opposition party people are already doing something, raising money to bribe people and I said no we are anti corruption, we cannot be corrupted.
“If they bring one Billion Naira to each member, PDP person will not be Speaker; a PDP person will not be Deputy Speaker; a PDP person will not be Chief Whip; a PDP person will not be Leader and a PDP person will not take any of the committee that are meant for the ruling party.
“We are determined to achieve that and be rest assured that the party will stand by you.”
In his reaction Hon. Olubunmi Tunde Ojo (Ondo), who initiated the meeting, said that the APC has 164 newly elected members, adding that the new members must not disappoint.
He assured that they are united as a caucus and would support any candidate backed by the party.
He said, “Never again will policies of APC be defeated at the floor of the House of Reps. We will not share our victory with the opposition. We laboured for it and we know what Mr President passed through. The party must also step up and ensure that it does not get out of control before it moves to intervene.”
He disclosed that the 164 member caucus has started lobbying the opposition members of the House to support any APC-backed candidate for Speaker and other principal offices of the National Assembly
The new members appreciated the efforts of the NWC in taking proactive moves to avoid a repeat of the 2015 incident at the National Assembly.