…say no group of lawmakers met anywhere to take stand_
Some newly elected House of Reps members from the opposition parties have distanced themselves from the purported zoning arrangement of the All Progressives Congress for the position of Speaker.
The lawmakers-elect, under the aegis of The Patriotic Forum, also denied meeting to endorse any aspirant, adding that any attempt to induce, intimidate or coerce them will fail.
The group made this known in a communique issued on Monday.
Read the communique below:
SUBJECT: SPEAKERSHIP OF 10TH ASSEMBLY HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMUNIQUE BY COALITION OF NEWLY-ELECTED MEMBERS IN OPPOSITION PARTIES
THE ATTEMPT TO INDUCE, INTIMIDATE OR COERCE NEWLY ELECTED MEMBERS FROM THE OPPOSITION PARTIES WILL FAIL – NO 283 MEMBERS SUPPORTING ANYONE YET!
On behalf of the newly elected members of the opposition parties that are represented in our platform named THE PATRIOTS FORUM, arising from our meeting on Sunday April 15, 2023 we hereby share the resolutions from our last meeting in this communique.
1. Forum congratulates all the incoming colleagues from the opposition parties who fought hard to scale through their elections yesterday, April 15, 2023 successfully.
2. We salute your gallantry, knowing how high and steep the odds put on your way could have been.
3. Forum rejoices with everyone of you, as we look forward to you joining us in Abuja as we get set for the purpose for which we have all been elected.
4. Over the period of waiting for your victory, a lot of meetings have been held on your behalf, as you all know that the topical issue now is the issue of Speakership of the 10th Assembly, House of Representatives.
5. We want to say that mindful of your elections, we have exercised a high score of decorum and discretion very consciously not to commit to any of the aspirants as we await you, to enable us decide collectively.
6. Now that the election is over, we invite you to the next meeting where we will brief you fully the date for the meeting, and the venue will be communicated shortly.
7. It must also be clearly stated that while you were faced with your election, the members of the opposition parties, have faced heavy intimidation in so many ways by the slim majority party, but we have not caved in.
8. Forum notes the most recent being the propaganda of having 283, members as claimed by one of the returning members from Rivers State, ostensibly to include us the members elect from the opposition parties.
9. Forum deemed it imperative to clear that misleading statement by one Honourable Kingsley Chinda.
10. Forum hereby declares that NO NEWLY ELECTED MEMBER FROM THE OPPOSITION PARTIES is included in the phantom 283 as alluded to by the said Honourable Kingsley Chinda as supporting or aligned with the zoning consideration, which is an internal arrangement of the All Progressives Congress, and NOT BINDING ON US.
11. Forum feels It is regrettable that anyone will be elected on the platform of an opposition party, and the very first representative duty, that could make or mar the 4 years tenure, which is that of electing a Speaker will be ceded to one factor of the preference of the party that produced the Government at the centre.
12. Forum deliberately held back on our choice, so as to have an-inclusive position about and on who will be “our” Speaker at the 10th Assembly House of Representatives as the rules prescribes. In that prescription, there is no place for a factor called zoning that is binding on ALL newly elected members of the House.
13. While the incoming members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) can align and queue behind their “zoning factor”, our duty and obligation, that, Nigerians expect of us is to be responsible in our judgment as dependable opposition, which leaves us with no choice than to say that even if we will eventually settle for a member from All Progressive Congress as the Speaker, we must profile such a person for Capacity, Character, National Outlook, Competence, Tolerance and ability to run an Inclusive house, not one in the pocket of a few against the majority of Nigerians.
14. It is the leadership of the House of Representatives of Nigerian people not a political party chairman.
15. The intention of the forum is not to imperil our future as representatives of our people just by electing a Speaker just to appease the “gods of zoning” in APC. Doing such will be a travesty against our constituents and the Nigerian people, it will be turning us into “a herd of cows” that can be whipped into line and that will mean the 10th Assembly, House of Representatives will be sealed with a fait accompli stamp.
16. Forum wishes to state clearly, so as to remind those who have forgotten a part of our nations legislative history that berthed the idea of THE HOUSE PROJECT at the Seventh Assembly, which is simply to put Nigeria first, followed by the institution and members last, Forum aligns with this generic purpose as subscribed to way back in 2011.
17. Forum wishes to remind members that at the 7th Assembly, the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) under the President-elect, His Excellency Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, working with Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) led by President Mohammadu Buhari GCFR and others agreed and supported the then Rt. Honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of the People’s Democratic Party to win against the zoning of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to have Hon. Mulikat Akande as the preferred candidate.
18. It is therefore shameful indeed today to begin to moot the idea of a one party Assembly, which is clearly the plan of APC to asphyxiate the opposition parties, and it is most unfortunate to then see an “opposition party” Governor Nyesom Wike, on whose behalf, Honourable Kingsley Chinda spoke turn the voice pipe of the APC, very unfortunate indeed. It speaks to character of persons, who in the day claim to be in opposition and at night reduced to amplifier for the ruling party.
19. Forum is aware that Governor Nyesom Wike solely believes the everyone can be purchased like a commodity, but this time, a new generation of the forthright politicians are emerging whose lives are not ruled by filthy lucre, and we are the ones.
20. Forum states that we have been elected by Nigerians from our various constituencies to represent them at the House of Representatives, they saw the party APC and her candidates on the ballot, when they opted to vote for us, and we cannot arrogate sole representative powers to ourselves, in disregard of our journey to this point because in four quick years, majority of us will be back to face them and account for the use of the mandate carefully and consciously invested in our hands.
21. Forum agrees that we are not in the House of Representatives to be “ANTAGONISTS” to anyone or party, whether at the centre or at the left or right, rather we are here to put Nigeria first, and the consideration for the well being of the people come first and all time, all through the next four years, which is what we will do from this first sacred duty on inauguration day when our constituents will be watching what we will do with their mandate.
22. Lastly, Forum agreed that Governor Nyesom Wike and his group of “fly by night” opposition can continue with their intimidation plans to use money to induce or coerce us, but we are resolutely behind our core duty and obligations to the Nigerian people, observing that the same way money failed in his attempt to install Hon. Kingsley Chinda, his “Goebel” as minority leader of the 9th Assembly House opposition parties, rather Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu was supported till the end, as the choice of opposition members.
23. Forum notes that the days ahead will tell that we are conviction driven representatives of our people, we may be newly elected members, but that we are not oblivious of our legislative history that commends to us a fidelity with the Nigerian people, neither are we a bunch of immature “school boys” rather men and women who know what is right and willing to do them regardless of the intimidation.
Signed for: THE PATRIOTS FORUM (TPF)
CC: ALL NEWLY ELECTED MEMBERS IN OPPOSITION PARTIES