10th NASS: We want Betara as Speaker to help fix Nigeria, Reps-elect
The members-elect were notably from the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
They included Hon. Inuwa Garba (PDP, Gombe), Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere (PDP, Imo) and Hon. Cyril Hart (PDP, Rivers).
Speaking separately with journalists on the sidelines of the ongoing induction of returning and newly elected lawmakers organized by National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), the members-elect said that the 10th national assembly would need a speaker that would cater for the needs of the masses.
Barring his mind, Garba, a former Speaker, Gombe House of Assembly and former chairman, conference of speakers of Nigeria said Betara was most most qualified for the top job.
He said that many members of the opposition parties otherwise called “Greater Majority” said have already endorsed Betara as their choice for speakership.
He said: “The focus of the Greater Majority is to have a very focussed and purposeful leadership for the 10th Assembly that will bring all members together for a good working relationship.
“That should be based on track record, experience and commitment. Most of us in the 10th Assembly believe that Aliyu Betara has what it takes to give to Nigerians what we want in the 10th House of Representatives.
“Nigeria is already in a serious problem and to come out of this problem starts and ends with having a good leadership.
“Once many of us coming from the opposition parties see reason to team up with somebody from the ruling party, you should know that such a person will be committed and has the will to carry all of us along as members and has very good understanding of the tenets of the legislature and good relationship. The beneficiary of that will be the government in power.
“I can tell you that the only person who qualifies for the position and has all these qualities and is prepared and committed is Muktar Aliyu Betara.
“Majority of us in the Greater Majority group have endorsed Betara for the position and I can assure you that if today, we go in for the contest, Betara will be the Speaker. His Speakership will be the gain of Nigerians. For somebody to choose a Speaker for us is a misnomer.
“That is undemocratic and unconstitutional. We will vote for the person that will do justice to Nigerians and I can assure you that the next Speaker of the House of Representatives is Aliyu Muktar Betara”.
Also speaking, Hon. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere who will be representing Ideato North and South Federal Constituency of Imo state who kicked against the imposition of candidate on the members-elect by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said: “I believe that the independence of the parliament is an important foundation for any progress that will be recorded. At the same time, stability and harmonious co-existence is also very important if we must achieve what we promised our people out there.
“Right now, there seems to be so much confusion. But in the days ahead, after consulting party leaders, one can speak clearly on these divisions and this contest viz-a-vis the need for an independent parliament, the need for stability and the need for harmonious co-existence.
“These disagreements are political in nature and they keep coming every four years. But I think that conversation must be shifted to the agenda of the 10th National Assembly.
“I think people are focusing so much on this leadership contest without discussing these people who want to be Speaker. What is their Legislative agenda as it has to do with the urgent need to restructure the country, to secure the country, eradicate poverty, to ensure economic wellbeing of the people.
“Now everybody is talking about who wants to be Speaker, who the party wants or does not want. But nobody is talking about what the Nigerian people want.
“We now have a country where the rate of poverty keeps increasing. Those who don’t have keep increasing, those who cannot sleep with two eyes closed keep increasing. The educational system is bad; there is so much disunity and division which also bring to the front burner the issue of how to unite the country and reduce the cost of government.
“How do we ensure that every segment of the country feels entitled to to equity, fairness and justice. I think we should first x-ray these candidates to know their capacity and how they understand the deep rooted nature of legislative business and the kind of legislation that will impact on people’s life.
“We must find a way of bringing these issues to the table instead of focusing more on who the party want or don’t want. After the end of the leadership contest on June 13, they will be faced with the business of lawmaking and if we elect people who don’t have interest and concern for the key issues facing Nigerians today, then we are going to have a problem”.
On his part, Hon. Cyril Hart (PDP, Rivers) said that the 1999 Constitution (as amended) stipulated the “procedure that should adopted to elect the presiding officers of the House.
“I share the sentiment that the Majority Party should produce the leadership of the House even though I am of the PDP.
“Whatever you are seeing now will calm down and at the end, Nigeria will get the best out of it. So, there is no cause for alarm because it is all politics.
“Contest is free and anyone is free to contest, but my simple opinion is that the majority party, the APC with the highest number of members-elect should produce the leadership. It’s an APC affair and I believe that they should be allowed to produce the leadership of the 10th Assembly.
“So, whatever they are are doing is their business. I am only praying that the best emerges. What you are seeing is politics. The dust will settle and at the end of the day, Nigerians will get the best. So, no course for alarm,” he said.
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