Kashim Shettima, the vice-president-elect, gathered the incoming House of Representatives members for a meeting on Friday in preparation for the 10th assembly.
The event, attended by both returning and new lawmakers, was held at Shettima’s residence in Abuja.
The assembly was organized by the Joint Task, an eight-party coalition led by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
During the meeting, Shettima urged the candidates for speaker and deputy speaker to consider stepping down in favor of Tajudden Abbas and Benjamin Kalu, respectively.
WITHIN NIGERIA previously reported that Abbas and Kalu were chosen by the APC as the preferred candidates for the House of Representatives presiding officers.
Other APC representatives, however, have expressed reservations about the party’s selections, claiming they were not consulted in the decision-making process.
Addressing the newly elected representatives, Shettima promised to work with the other candidates to gain support for the party’s preferred candidates.
I will take it upon myself to reach out to the other contenders. Muktar Betara is my brother. We are from the same sub-region, we are from the same state and I have the best relationship with him.
I met him two nights ago, I will sustain that discussion so that at the end of the day there will be no winner, no vanquished.
Around 1 pm today I met with Idris Wase, the deputy speaker. He is someone very close to me. We will continue with the engagements so that we shall have a rancour-free 10th assembly.
Mariam Onuoha is my friend, I will reach out to her so that together, we can form one person.
The vice-president-elect emphasized the necessity of unity within the National Assembly to support the executive.
He cited examples from past presidencies to illustrate the negative impact of a strained relationship between the executive and the legislature.
When Obasanjo lost grip of the national assembly, his first tenure was a failure. It was largely enmeshed in one crisis after another. It was when he got a grip on the national assembly — not a complaint national assembly, but a united national assembly. (He was then) able to achieve a lot in his second term.
President Muhammadu Buhari could do little in his first term fundamentally because of rancorous or the strained relationship between the executive and the legislature. What was accomplished in the last four years was because of the harmonious relationship between the executive and legislature.
When President Goodluck Jonathan lost grip of the national assembly when Aminu Waziri Tambuwal emerged as the speaker, that rancorous relationship eventually culminated in his defeat in the 2015 general election.
In response, Abbas assured that he and Kalu will work diligently and effectively.
“We will discharge our responsibility with utmost efficiency,” Abbas stated.
He pledged that, if elected, they would work harmoniously with the national assembly to foster a cooperative environment