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House Speaker: Wase rejects Tinubu, APC’s decision, says ‘it’s my turn’

May 13, 2023

The APC has zoned the positions of speaker and deputy senate president to the North-west….

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase, has officially joined the speakership race – in a defiant move against the decision of his party to zone the position to the North-west.

Speaking during his official declaration on Friday at the Transcorp Hotel in Abuja, Mr Wase stated the now popular Yoruba phrase “emi lokan,” which translates as “it is my turn”. The phrase was popularised by the president-elect, Bola Tinubu.

“At this point, I will use the words of my leader, emi lokan, emi lokan, emi lokan”, Mr Wase said, referring to Mr Tinubu as his leader even though he rejects the latter’s endorsement of a different aspirant.

Mr Wase, who is from Plateau State, stated that the ruling party must follow the Nigerian constitution in ensuring that the North-central is not excluded from the distribution of offices even though the constitution does not state how such offices should be allocated.

“It must also be noted that it is only the North-central in the entire country that has not produced the Speaker in 24 years after the return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999.

“Fellow Nigerians, Nigeria is built on the supremacy of the law and the sacredness of the constitution for justice to reign and to keep the peace in the country,” he said.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported that the zoning of the presiding officers of the 10th Assembly as done by the ruling party excluded the North-central. The party said it decided on the zoning arrangement after consultations with Mr Tinubu who will be inaugurated as president on 29 May.

The new House of Representatives will be inaugurated in June, about two weeks after the inauguration of the president.

The APC has zoned the positions of speaker and deputy senate president to the North-west, while the senate president and deputy speaker have been zoned to South-south and South-east respectively.

The APC, which has the highest number of seats in the Senate and House of Representatives, settled for Godswill Akpabio (South-south) and Barau Jibrin (North-west) for the positions of senate president and deputy senate president respectively.

The party also endorsed Tajudeen Abbas (North-west) and Ben Kalu (South-east) for speaker and deputy speaker respectively.

Mr Wase is one of the leading APC lawmakers opposed to the party’s zoning arrangement. Others include House Leader Alhassan Doguwa, Muktar Betara, Sada Soli and Aminu Wali.

The aggrieved lawmakers, who have been re-elected and all seek to become the speaker, have formed a coalition called the Coalition of Progressive Speakership Aspirants (COPSA).

We will decide the next speaker — Betara

Several members of the COPSA group attended the declaration of Mr Wase and reaffirmed their commitment to the struggle against the imposition of a candidate on the lawmakers.

Speaking on the alliance, Mr Betara said the selection of a consensus candidate must be done in consultation with all members.

“For us forming a group, we are not fighting, we are all APC members. A consensus candidate can be picked but we must sit and say this is the person we have picked to lead us. I assure all my colleagues, members-elect, and former members, we are not going to fight. We are going to agree to support one of us as the speaker,” Mr Betara said.

Others that spoke include Messrs Jaji and Soli. (Premium Times)

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