10TH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY: WHY NORTH-CENTRAL SHOULD BE GIVEN SPEAKERSHIP POSITION – PGF
10TH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY: WHY NORTH-CENTRAL SHOULD BE GIVEN SPEAKERSHIP POSITION - PGF
10TH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY: WHY NORTH-CENTRAL SHOULD BE GIVEN SPEAKERSHIP POSITION -PARLIAMENTARY GOVERNANCE FORUM (PGF).National Assembly is one tier of government that have largely encapsulated the unity in diversity of Nigerians in general and this is because it comprises the participation of Nigerians from all the geopolitical zones in the country. This then means that, it is the subset of what a true federalism should be- a correct symbol for true federal character!Since the inception of our transition to democracy in 1999, there is only one Zone that has not occupied the position of Speaker, House of Representatives, with the exception of South-South region of Nigeria. But the genuine distinction between the two is that this particular region has been voting overwhelmingly for the ruling party since 2015 to her recent success in the last 2023 General elections which saw to the emergence of Alhaji Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the President-elect and also saw to the successes of the All Progressives Congress in Various states especially states within the North-Central Region of our dear country.Therefore in any political calculation, equity is not about equality but on balancing its equation. For instance, in the political structure of the equation of Nigeria, the only way to practice true federalism is allowing the inclusiveness from all the zones to take part in its administration, so that fairness and equity can be seen to be done not only by those who govern, but by those who are also governed. This therefore means that when one region takes the mantle of leadership in a given area, another region should also be given the ample right to occupy other areas of responsibility. The country should not be lead or allowed to be managed by only one region as this would lead to agitations, chaos and uprisings which can disintegrate the country.As we await the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly in less than two months from now, a number of legislators have been lobbying and jostling for the two highest positions within the parliamentary arm of Government, which is the office of the Senate President and that of the Speaker, House of Representatives respectively; the possible way to douse the present agitations coming from the election petitions around the country is to zone these positions to the appropriate geopolitical zones that are worthy of it. The same movement that even the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had started working on for the peace and unity of the country when he had a meeting with the APC lawmakers, being represented by his vice president- elect, senator Shettima on the zoning formula for the key four highest positions in the two chambers: the position of the senate president, deputy senate president, the speaker and deputy speaker. In a nation where ethnic consideration is given the prime place in political appointments, without doubt, the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed which is from the SW while his vice- president-elect Senator Shettima is from the NE has promised to particularly give a sense of belonging to other zones to occupy the other sensitive positions most especially at the national assembly to avoid the usual problem of marginalization that had been alluded by some parts of the country.Of a truth, this salient decision is not about showing fairness to the other zones of the country to take part in the administration of the governance of the country, but it is the mechanism that fosters me our unity as a country. From the general viewpoint, the purpose for equity in the zoning of principal positions in the national assembly should only be considered for the NW, SS, SE and the NC regions, as for the position of speaker, such should be specifically zoned to the North Central region for obvious reasons and if the legislative arm is to thrive better, a very competent and seasoned ranking member such as the current deputy speaker in person of Rt. Honorable Ahmed Idris Wase should be supported to preside over the affairs of the green chamber.Zoning this position of Speaker to the North Central zone of the country and particularly to Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase should be considered as a way to reward the NC for their loyalty towards the ruling party. especially given the fact that no person from the said region has ever held the said position.Although, there are other able and also qualified ranking members that can effectively handle the office of the Speaker with thorough efficiency, if given the chance in that zone, but what made Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase stand out amongst them is not about the several bills he has sponsored in the Green Chamber to improve the Healthcare services for Nigerians in many parts of the country or his vast experience in the continental legislations, which he has garnered since his appointment in 2018 as the Regional Representative for West Africa to serve on the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and his subsequent election as the first Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament in 2019.But his tested loyalty and total submission to party’s supremacy above self-interests. This is what had distinguishes him from other lawmakers from the green chamber. It was reported that during the 2019 contest for the position of Speaker which he also contested for, and despite having secured overwhelming supports from majority of his colleagues to be elected as Speaker, Hon.Wase was seen to the party’s line by stepping down for Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila after which the party leadership of the APC had decided that the speakership position has been zoned to the Southwest. It was in this humble submission that he jettisoned his interest to honor the party’s decision and decided to opt for the position of the Deputy Speaker for the stability and progress of the party. This same ambition which caused the party to lose some of her seats at the 8th Assembly, where the likes of former senate president, Bukola Saraki and the then Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara delivered their party into the hands of the opposition like the way Judas betrayed Jesus, and handed him over to the Romans for crucifying.So, this is the time the leadership of APC has to remember and at the same time equally reward one of her party faithful in respect of Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase to occupy the speakership position in the House, having been one of the ranking returning lawmakers to the House and the one who has chaired many committees than the rests, and being the current Deputy Speaker in the 9th Assembly without any rancor between him and the Speaker for the past four years of their services to the fatherland. APC and its members in the house should know that one good turn deserves another: for it will be politically suicidal to lose one of her party’s greatest stronghold, which is the North-Central zone if it mistakenly concedes the speakership position to another zone in the country.