Thursday 1 June 2023

10th NASS Leadership Positions: Tinubu, Lawan, Gbajabiamila deliberate

President Bola Tinubu on Thursday at the presidential villa met with Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila over the race to fill the presiding officer’s posts in the 10th National Assembly.

The meeting of the leadership of both chambers of the legislature with the president was followed by a separate one involving Tajudeen Abbas and Ben Kalu, both anointed by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the speakership and deputy speakership, respectively, of the 10th House of Representatives.

Tinubu similarly met with the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, for the second time in barely 24 hours.

When he came to the villa on Wednesday, the anti-graft boss had told correspondents that he was there to brief the president.

Fielding questions after their meeting, Lawan affirmed that he gave his opinion to the President on how the leadership of the 10th Assembly should emerge.

He said he had never indicated interest to contest for the post of the senate president in the Assembly, saying that national interest and the interest of the legislature should be the guiding principles in the selection of its leaders.

The outgoing Senate President said: “What will inform the emergence will be the national interest, interest of the National Assembly, the legislature to together and therefore everybody matters in this process.

“We also believe that Mr President has been a senator himself and his vice president also having been a senator, this is something that they will always wish and pray for.

“As the chairman of the 9th National Assembly, I find it dutiful and necessary to work with all the major stakeholders especially the leadership of our country, Mr president particularly to give my necessary opinion and advice on how the new leadership of the National Assembly should emerge and what we need to do to ensure stability, productivity of the National Assembly and to ensure peaceful atmosphere between the legislature and the executive arm of government.

“We are getting somewhere and my prayer is we are able to resolve all the outstanding issues by the grace of God. And Mr President is positively disposed to everything being done smoothly.”

Lawan affirmed that against speculation, he never said he said he would contest the position in the 10th Senate, saying: “On a more serious note, I have never indicated interest to run for the office of the president of the senate in the 10 National Assembly.

“We have worked together with distinguished senators of the 9th national assembly and members of the House of Representatives to create a very clement environment for us to work.

“We have been productive, much more productive than any National Assembly. We have worked very closely with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and of course that helped the administration also.

“My prayer and wish and hope are that we are able to have a peaceful transition who are outgoing to a new set of leaders of the National Assembly and who will continue to unite everybody in the National Assembly, in the Senate.

“We want to have a leadership in the senate that will unite senators to work so well regardless of their political parties. The same thing in the House of Representatives.

“But the truth is I have never indicated interest to run but I have a responsibility to the Senate, the National Assembly has been in the National Assembly for 24 years now, especially when we have 70 per cent of members in the National Assembly, especially in the Senate who are new.

“Those of us who have been there longer owe everybody that responsibility to at least help mentor those who are new if we are not going to be presiding officers or principal positions.

“I don’t really wish to be one. I have played my part and I am happy that we have played our part, we have made a positive impact but of course, we have had our fair share of shortcomings but I can hold my head high on behalf of all my colleagues in the Senate and the National Assembly that this National Assembly have contributed to national development in no mean measure and have succeeded in getting very critical legislation passed and assented to by the former President.”

Also speaking to correspondents later, Abbas said they discussed issues facing the country with the president including the removal of petroleum subsidies.

The candidate, who represents Kaduna State, denied that the 9th House of Representatives was a rubber stamp, denying that his selection is meant to keep the House compromise.

He argued that the 9th Assembly has been the best in the history of Nigerian democracy in terms of cordial relationship with the Executive and what was achieved.

The speakership candidate assured that nobody can manipulate the 360 members of the House of Representatives.

Abbas said everything was being done to carry along members aggrieved over their selection for the posts, assuring that come June 13, all members of the House would speak as one.

Tribune Online

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