Ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen Abdullahi Adamu, has asked members of the party to stop referring to Hon Tajudeen Abbas Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Adamu who made the clarification when no fewer than 150 members-elect of the House accompanied Abbas to the party’s national secretariat in solidarity with the preferred speakership candidate to meet with the national chairman and members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
The party’s leadership had officially confirmed the endorsement of former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godwill Akpabio, as Senate president and Abbas as Speaker of House of Representatives for the 10th National Assembly.
The APC NWC also confirmed the endorsement of Senator Barau Jubrin (North West) as deputy Senate president and Ben Kalu (South East) as deputy Speaker of the House.
But Adamu later recanted on the zoning arrangement of the party, saying they were waiting for the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to return before taking a final decision on the matter.
Speaking during the meeting with the lawmakers yesterday, Adamu said Abbas can only be pronounced Speaker after the election of principal officers of the National Assembly on June 13, 2023.
Noting that other aspirants for the speakership position had also visited him and his NWC for support, Adamu said, “I want to make one correction so that we will not be misrepresented. A number of you have referred to Hon Abbas as the Speaker. Please, he is one of the aspirants.
He will become Speaker on the day of proclamation.
“The laws guiding that office are very clear; he will earn that on the day of proclamation by the president and commander in chief of the 10th National Assembly.The Clerk to the National Assembly will conduct an election. There is no option other than the election.
“When he comes out of that election and they raise his hand and when he is sworn in as the Speaker, that nomenclature becomes most appropriate. Wait. Continue doing your good work”.
On further steps taken by the party to assuage aggrieved aspirants, Adamu said, “After reporting to the National Working Committee, the discussions we had with the President-elect and leaders like the Vice President-elect, the Senate President, the speaker; my humble self, the National Chairman of the Party, my deputy north, deputy south and the National Secretary of the party, I reported our deliberations.
“It was clear in our declaration that there is a need for further and better consultations so that we can talk as much as we can to massage political egos so that we end up with what we want with National Assembly leadership in both Chambers.
“We have received all the other aspirants for the president of the Senate and the speakership of the House of Representatives. I on behalf of my colleagues wish you the best of luck”.
Abbas had earlier thanked Adamu for playing a crucial role in the emergence of Tinubu, assuring that, saying they, as lawmakers under the party’s platform, would do everything humanly possible to protect the interest of the party, the incoming government and the Nigerian populace.
He stated:, “You have conquered the parliament several times; you were a party man several times; you were in the executive several times; you have delivered the president-elect of our party this time around. What is only outstanding to complete your resume is to deliver the leadership of the National Assembly on June 13.
“I want to urge you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the NWC that if tomorrow you have done one leg of your job, that is the endorsement of the people that will represent the party in the next dispensation, the next is to come all out to support, to encourage, to convince every member who has a vote to come and vote for your candidate come June 13.
“Mr Chairman, I also want to urge you as our leader – the leader of all the contestants both in the Senate and in the House of Representatives, we are all your children. We want to urge you to use the position God has given you and all the members of NWC to do whatever you can to call all our co-contestants to the table. We are more than willing to sit down and agree on a mutual basis what we need to do to move the National Assembly forward.
“We want your leadership to be in the driving seat. We will cooperate; we will do everything humanly possible to make sure that we will operate as one from June 13,” Abbas assured.
Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Abbas justified his appeal for Adamu’s intervention, saying the party’s decision remains regardless of what the national chairman said.
“To sustain the announcement made earlier, we are not aware there’s any change or any decision concerning the candidature of my humble self and my colleague from the House of rep and my colleague from the senate. There has not been anything like that to the best of our knowledge. The issue of reaching out, I can assure you we are doing the best we can,” he stated.