On Saturday, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu encouraged the country’s incoming lawmakers to put the needs of the people first.
In order to secure the support of governors from both parties, Tajudeen Abass, a candidate for Speaker of the House of Representatives, and members of his Joint Task team were welcomed by Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos House in Marina.
He asserted that the incoming leadership of the 10th National Assembly (NASS) should be made up of representatives who reflect the diversity of the nation.
The governor said that the race to fill the principal positions of the parliament usually involved fierce competition that would pit members against one another.
According to him, the objective for vying for presiding seats in the legislature should reflect the interests and aspirations of the people.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has a majority of members-elect in both chambers of the National Assembly and it is looking forward to forming the next leadership.
The party, also, recently nominated Abass, representing Zaria Federal Constituency of Kaduna State, as Speaker, and Mr Benjamin Kalu, representing Bende Constituency of Abia State, as Deputy Speaker.
The 10th Assembly is scheduled to convene on June 13, the same day lawmakers-elect will choose their presiding officers.
Sanwo-Olu said that the unity of the country was more important than the speakership aspirants’ ambition.
He urged Abass and the team not to take any member-elect for granted, and advised that Reps leadership should reflect the yearnings of the people.
”This race to elect leadership in the House of Representatives should reflect the true federal composition and political diversity of the country.
”Here today, I have seen diverse political parties and representatives from all regions coming together to work as a team in electing the Speaker.
“I urge you not to stop at this; you should further deepen your engagement and extend hand of comradeship to every member.
”I have observed that despite having the support of the party, you are not resting on your oars and taking anything to chance. I urge you to ensure that your engagement is total, transparent and inclusive.
”Other aspirants are eminently qualified to do the same engagement. They are known to us and they will be brought to the room for conversation.
“Our wish is to ensure that the position of the party is respected and adopted on the Green Chamber when the House convenes,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He said that the task before the next assembly was to meet and surpasss achievements recorded by the 9th assembly.
”I have read about Speaker and Deputy Speaker aspirants. Your pedigree and resume speak to excellence.
“I believe you have what it takes to lead the House of 360 members from diverse backgrounds, so that we can have purposeful executive-legislative engagement and bring about meaningful dividends of democracy to our countrymen.
”At the end of the day, your aspiration is not about you or your colleagues in the chamber but about Nigerians.
”The objective must be about joining forces with the incoming administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to make life better for the people, improve economy and strengthen security. Greatest good must be achieved for the greatest number,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The Speaker aspirant, Abass, elected for the third consecutive time, said that the unity of the country and the House topped his agenda, as his teams comprised members-elect across party lines.
The lawmaker said the recently held general elections further caused more divisions within the country, adding that the President-elect, Tinubu, required detribalised Nigerians to be at the helm of affairs in the legislature, in order to heal the nation.
”Our agenda is to make sure the country is united to confront the current challenges. We undertake this task of leading the House to create a constructive relationship between the executive and the legislature that will be devoid of rancour.
”Where there will be differences, we will ensure issues are resolved through dialogue. Stability of the House is sacrosanct. We will heal the wound, particularly from various contestants in this race,” he said.
Abass urged Gov. Sanwo-Olu to reach out to governors and other aspirants for the position for conversation that would make the election of presiding officers hitch-free.
Kalu, Deputy Speaker aspirant, said that the Abass-led leadership would project institutional trust in the 10th assembly, adding that the decision of the House would reflect the interests of Nigerians.
The Leader of the Joint Task, Mr Bello Kumo, representing Akko Federal Constituency of Gombe State, said that the Abass-led leadership would not compromise the independence of the House.
The lawmaker said the team was not interested in just winning the election, but also in having a peaceful 10th assembly.