A think-tank of intellectuals from the 19 Northern states has urged a group of six aspirants for Speaker in the 10th National Assembly to adopt Idris Wase as their consensus candidate for the position.
The Northern Patriotic and Democratic Coalition said the aspirants must unite behind the Deputy Speaker to stop the imposition of Tajudeen Abbas on Nigerians by Femi Gbajabiamila.
Recall that the All Progressives Congress had purportedly endorsed Abbas and Ben Kalu for Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.
The choice of Abbas has been welcomed with widespread outrage, with many critics claiming he is being foisted on the party and House of Representatives by Gbajabiamila.
Consequently, in protest, six other aspirants formed an alliance known as the Coalition of Progressive Speakership Aspirants (COPSA).
They comprise Wase, Muktar Betara, Sada Soli, Aminu Sani Jaji, Yusuf Gagdi, and Miriam Unuoha.
In a statement through its Publicity Director, Dr. Mrs. Regina Audu, on the state of the nation and the way forward for the National Assembly leadership tussle, the group urged the aspirants to shelve their ambitions in support of Wase.
Audu said to stop the “imminent Abbas calamity” from befalling the nation, a robust coalition comprising of men and women of goodwill, strong in character and purpose must speak with one voice.
While admitting that each member of the coalition is very much qualified and deserving of the position, she said Wase has an edge as the current deputy Speaker.
Audu noted that Wase is the perfect blend of experience, competence, and capacity – key traits Abbas lacks.
She added that with the Plateau lawmaker as Speaker, the North Central’s agitation and perceived neglect would have been effectively addressed.
” Wase epitomizes character, competence, and capacity. A five-timer, he is the most experienced of all the aspirants and would represent the interest of the majority of the members and not that of Gbaja,” Audu said.
“Wase hasn’t been a mere spectator all these years. In his four terms, he held the chairmanship of key committees and sponsored at least a dozen bills.
“As Chair of the Federal Character Commission, for instance, the current deputy speaker paid no attention to “connections” by ensuring that Nigerians from different ethnic and religious backgrounds get employed in Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the federal government, strictly based on merit. This endeared Wase to many children of less-privileged Nigerians.
“As the Chair of the House Committee of the Whole, he was key to the passage of critical bills such as the PIB, and the amendments to the new Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), which has already been noted to be easing doing business in Nigeria.
“As the chairman of the Ad hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, Wase achieved uncommon milestones. President Muhammadu Buhari has just assented to some of the bills passed in the amendment of the constitution. Some of these assented bills will promote true federalism, devolution of powers from the center to the states, as well as strengthen government institutions.
“At the continental level, Wase is currently the first deputy speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament. This is no mean feat. As the first deputy speaker of that parliament, he has been a champion of Nigeria’s national interests within the broader interests of the West African sub-region.
“Wase’s achievements have endeared him to colleagues who respect him. The first-timers look up to him. In Wase, you have a complete package and with the backing of these five powerful aspirants, we are sure he will defeat Gbaja and the enemies of Nigeria.
“It is on this note that we wish to appeal to the Coalition of Progressive Speakership Aspirants to support one of their own. While each member has the right to contest for the coveted seat, it is best to unite for a common cause with Wase as a figurehead.
“Our nation is at a critical period and only men and women of goodwill can save it from collapse. Gbaja and Abbas don’t mean well for Nigeria. Thankfully, there are still patriotic Nigerians who can neutralize their gimmicks.”