By Olugbenga Salami
The chances of the All Progressives Congress, APC consensus candidates for the positions of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas and and the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Benjamin Kalu in the incoming 10th National Assembly, were further boosted on Wednesday as about 63 members-elect from the opposition parties endorsed the duo.
Leading the opposition camp for the endorsement, was the spokesman of the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP and member-elect for Ideato North/South Federal Constituency of Imo State, Ikenga Ugochinyere.
Ugochinyere, who spoke at a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja, called on other candidates in the race who were banking on opposition votes to stage a rebellion against the Abbas/Kalu ticket to withdraw from the race, warning that such votes would no longer be available for them.
While describing Abass and Kalu as men of integrity and competence to preside over the affairs of the 10th House of Representatives, he said it was time for national development, growth and stability and not the time for party politics.
He called on the APC not to do anything that will tarnish the character of Hon. Abbas and Kalu or the independence of the House if the duo emerged victorious.
The CUPP spokesman also stated that “allegations that the House Rules were tampered with were not true, stating that the House Rules were last printed in December 2020 and not after the 2023 elections, hence by the extant Rules, the election of the presiding officers of the House will be by open ballot system.”
He said: “It is on this note that I call on my fellow colleague members-elect who are still in the race to stop and join the prefect of the class, Hon Tajudeen Abbas, to steer the ship of the 10th Assembly to beat the records of the other Houses in performance and achievement for Nigeria. Our common goal now should be beyond party and partisan politics and totally focused on Nigeria and her greater good. We want the best and we have selected the best and importantly, the selection is by merit.
“I do not speak for myself alone. I speak for the 63 like-minded Honourable members-elect of the opposition family who have agreed on a common vision for the 10th Assembly. We will transform to the TBK Group. Our 63 votes without any dissent or abstention will go for Hon. Tajudeen Abbas. In the coming days, Nigerians will come to know the identity of the TBK Group and will also feel our impact.”
In his closing remarks, another member-elect from the Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency under the platform of Labour Party, Hon. Amobi Ogah, noted that the duo of Abass and Kalu have the ability and capacity to lead the 10th House of Representatives.
“For the first time, we are trying to make history. I’m supporting Abass and Kalu not because APC picked them. Abass and Kalu have the capacity and competence. The 10th Assembly will be a unique one if the duo emerge as Speaker, Deputy. I beg my colleagues to support the duo in the interest of National unity,” he stressed.