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Reps’ Speakership: Why Lawmakers Are Routing For Bago – Campaign Spokesman

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The 9th National Assembly will be inaugurated tomorrow, Tuesday. In this interview with select journalists in Abuja, the spokesman of the Hon. Mohammed Bago Campaign Organisation, Hon. Victor Afam Ogene, says that Bago is already coasting to victory, among other issues. BODE GBADEBO was there for LEADERSHIP

How prepared is your camp for the 9th National Assembly leadership elections?

 

It has been two months of intense engagement with members elect, members of the civil society, critical stakeholders, including present and former leaders of the country, and the mass of the Nigerian people. During this period of electioneering, we have endeavoured to stay on the issues, without recourse to personal abuse or mudslinging.

 

And what are these issues that have dominated the campaigns?

For us in the Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago campaign organisation, what we have put out centers on the need for justice, equity and fairness in the leadership recruitment process of our dear nation. Quite unknown to many persons, or maybe they simply elect to gloss over it, is the constitutional requirement for equity  in the choice of leaders so as to consciously reflect our geo political diversity as a nation. In fact, under the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, as captured in Chapter 2, section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended,” the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.” In fact, this provision of the constitution aptly sums up the entire disputation as far as the contest for leadership of the 9th National Assembly is concerned.

 

But in spite of this constitutional provision which you have cited, your party, the APC has remained resolute on its choice of candidates as presiding officers…

You see, a lot of people do not quite understand what is meant by the phrase “spirit and letters of the constitution.” Which is why I think that going forward, chapter 2 of the Nigerian constitution ought to be made justiciable. When the constitution talks about commanding national loyalty, those two words are far deeper than many ascribe to it. Today in Nigeria, a lot of groups no longer show loyalty to the nation, be it Boko Haram, insurgents, ethnic militias, kidnappers and the likes. Now, while not excusing their recourse to self-help, our collective failings as a people in giving them a seeming sense of belonging could have unwittingly contributed to their disenchantment. Going forward, therefore, I would suggest that leaders across all strata would not only memorise the wordings of the section I just mentioned, but would also indeed commit to its faithful implementation. Can you therefore see why it has been such a herculean task getting the other side speak to the issues of equity, justice and fairness which we have deposited in the public domain. Besides the country’s constitution, the APC’s constitution promotes same ideals, which is why they don’t have any strong grounds to canvass their candidature. Now, we no longer hear the popular phrase ‘Baba so pe’, literally interpreted to mean, the leader has spoken, which has dominated Lagos politics, but the party has endorsed.

 

With this endorsement, where does that leave your candidate, Hon. Bago?

Oh, he’s doing very fine and by the grace of the Supreme Creator of the universe, we shall emerge victorious on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. The National Assembly is not the Lagos State House of Assembly, and so cannot be equated to it. While they play draft in Lagos, the name of the game in Abuja is chess.

 

In the final analysis, do you think you have the required number to swing victory to your side?

We’re aware of plans to engage in massive deployment of financial resources for the election, but thankfully majority of the members elect are self made individuals who cannot be swayed by monetary inducement. Only one week ago, no fewer than 195 members elect, across party lines, signed on to vote for us. As we speak, we have grossed over 200 and counting, and with their desire to foist a strange open voting pattern having crumbled, many more APC members are expected to come on board, paving the way for not only a landslide victory but the continuing guarantee of the independence of the House of Representatives.

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