Our lawmakers-elect free to contest NASS leadership, PDP insists

Uche-Secondus
Uche Secondus, PDP National Chairman

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has restated its earlier stance that despite being a minority in the incoming National Assembly, its members could seek to lead the legislative chambers.

The opposition party, however, said it is yet to decide on who to support for the National Assembly leadership positions.

Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, won a majority in the elections for both the Senate and the House of Representatives. It won over 60 of the 109 Senate seats and over 220 of the 360-seat House of Representatives.

Although the APC is expected to produce the leadership of both chambers, intense rivalry among its members could make the PDP a major decider on who would emerge for the four leadership positions.

The APC has said it must produce the senate president and deputy senate president of the Senate as well as speaker and deputy speaker of the House of Representatives.

The ruling party has also threatened that it would ensure PDP members are not appointed as committee chairmen of the NASS.

However, while the APC has declared support for Family Gbajabiamila as the next speaker and Ahmed Lawan as senate president, some other elected lawmakers of the party have vowed to challenge both men for the positions.

This has made the PDP, which has the second largest number of elected lawmakers, a darling being courted by all the aspirants.

In his Sunday statement, the PDP spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the party is yet to decide on who to support.

Mr Ologbondiyan said that the party’s position was predicated on reports in a section of the media suggesting that PDP members-elect in the House of Representatives had settled for a particular aspirant.

He said that the PDP was still consulting with its members-elect.

Mr Ologbondiyan said that no official position had been taken on the issue, “particularly as the positions of presiding officers are not exclusive preserve of the ruling party or any other party for that matter, but a constitutional right of every elected lawmaker in their respective chambers.

“Moreover, the PDP has an array of elected lawmakers, in both chambers, who are eminently qualified and equally popular among their colleagues, across the divide, to hold office as presiding officers of both chambers of the NASS in line with Section 50 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“What is important to Nigerians is the emergence of a purposeful leadership that will ensure accountability and good governance in the polity”.

Mr Ologbondiyan said that PDP as a party was committed to the wellbeing of the nation.

He urged Nigerians to discountenance such reports suggesting that the lawmakers had settled for a particular aspirant for any presiding office in the NASS.

History

The PDP played a similar spoiler role for the APC in 2015 when the latter, as the majority party, failed to determine the NASS presiding officers.

Like in 2019, the APC had supported Messrs Lawan and Gbajabiamila.

However, the support of PDP members meant Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara emerged senate president and speaker respectively.

Both men later defected to the PDP.

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