A non-governmental organization, Democrats Alliance for Good Governance (DAGG) on Saturday condemned in strong terms the report making the rounds concerning the “secret adoption” of one of the aspirants for the position of the speaker of the 10th House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas from Kaduna State and Hon. Benjamin Kalu from Abia State as the deputy speaker.
In the same vein, a group of members-elect who frowned at the purported “secret adoption” which reportedly took place on Friday night, described the exercise as “an affront on the parliamentarians and the National Assembly as an institution.”
The coalition’s national coordinator Dr. Williams Martins stated this in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja.
He said: “We are most jolted and sincerely betrayed especially when we got the hint that the preferred aspirant was taken by hand to be introduced to the president-elect.
“This development for us is not only demeaning, but degrading and absurd for the calibre of Nigerians who were elected by over 50 million electorates during the 25th February and supplementary elections.”
According to the group, “Men of goodwill and conscience as well as elected public office holders cannot afford to fold their hands to allow someone who is being reported to be adopted as chief of staff to the incoming president-elect, although a member-elect in the 10th assembly, to recklessly feel he can succeed in imposing any candidate on the people’s parliament.
“To allow such means, they (pembers-elect) are unfit for the task of representation and will definitely fail in holding the executive arm of government to account when the need arises within the span of four years of the 10th assembly.
The coalition’s national coordinator therefore warned against any action that may frustrate a united 10th assembly and the tenets of democracy.
“To put it succinctly, all the actors in the Nigerian project should be seen as honourable men and women who honour gentlemen’s discussion and reciprocate same at all times.
“Rather than doing this, we wish to state unequivocally that none of the us as parliamentarians will subscribe to anything short of what the constitution stipulates on independence of the legislature.
“You’ll recall that some of the aspirants met with the outgoing speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila to express their grouse about the unhealthy and unparliamentary actions and inactions of adopting his stooge.
“As if they were taken for a ride, the convener of the meeting, denied the allegation of adopting our colleague, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas from Kaduna State and Hon. Benjamin Kalu from Abia State as the deputy speaker,” he noted.
While calling for a rethink, the group’s coordinator urged the president-elect and the outgoing speaker to desist from any act that could bring their names to disrepute.
“We actually thought that with the way the speaker spoke to his colleagues during the closed door meeting was in genuine faith, but as you can all see it was a deceptive meeting,” he lamented.
Meanwhile, one of the aggrieved lawmakers who spoke under condition of anonymity dismissed insinuations over the alleged ill-feelings against Hon. Tajudeen Abbas and the spokesman of the House, Hon. Benjamin Kalu (APC-Abia).
He said: “While we do not have anything against the person and aspiration of the gentleman, we wish to stress that the will of the people and by extension of constituents will determine the choice of who to lead the 10th assembly.
“For us, what played out some few weeks back has further exposed the hidden agenda of the promoters of division among his contemporaries. Rather than reciprocating the kind gestures extended to him by most of the high ranking members who out of persuasion and honour, stepped down their speakership ambitions in the wake to the inauguration of the 9th assembly.
“But it is glaring that nothing can be done to change the nature of the chameleon.
“History will not forgive us if we fail to put in perspective the fallback of the similar antics that produced the anchor of this failed project of imposition and the ill-feelings created by some of the offers dangled before some of the reception adopted to ensure the emergence of the Tajudeen Abbas project. This time, “No Green Card will work”! I repeat, “No amount of Green Card will work in the 10th assembly!!!”
“On this note, we wish to state categorically that we will not cave in to ongoing plan to impose any candidate on the house by whosoever until a level playing field is created for all the aspirants who have their own right to choose their leaders.
“It is worthy to also put on record that, discussions are ongoing among the aspirants to turn the parliament into an appendage of the executive arm of government.
“Our position remains that as democrats, we shall not under any guise subscribe to any form of ‘master and servant relationship’ in the 10th assembly.
“Therefore we call on all men of goodwill and lovers of democracy to speak against ongoing moves to deepen “godfatherism” in the country.”
“We must stand up to resist Femi Gbajabiamila’s imposition on members. We will not buy in,” the lawmaker said