Ahead of the inauguration of the ninth National Assembly in June, the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, has said the ruling party would not share the House of Representatives leadership positions, including Speaker, Deputy Speaker or any other major position with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He maintained that even if PDP lawmakers offered bribe of N1 billion to each APC lawmaker, the ruling party would not do any business with the opposition party regarding the leaderships of the House.
The former Edo State governor, who addressed 164 members-elect when he led the APC National Working Committee (NWC) members for an interactive meeting in Abuja, yesterday, insisted that apart from Minority Leader and the statutory Public Account Committee chairmanship position, no member of the PDP would be allowed to hold any position.
Warning that the ruling party will do everything possible to forestall the occurrence of the mistake of the eighth Assembly in 2015, he said: “Somebody told me the opposition party people are already doing something, raising money to bribe people and I said no we are anti-corruption, we cannot be corrupted. If they bring N1 billion to each member, PDP person will not be Speaker, a PDP person will not be Deputy Speaker, a PDP person will not be Whip, a PDP person will not be Leader and a PDP person will not take any of the Committees that are meant for the ruling party. We are determined to achieve that and be rest assured that the party will stand by you.
“We have the numbers to produce the Speaker and we will produce the Speaker, who must be a member of the APC. We have the numbers to produce the Deputy Speaker and we will use the numbers to produce the Deputy Speaker, who must be a member of the APC. We have the number and we must use the numbers to elect a House Leader who must be a member of APC. We have the numbers and we will use the numbers to produce a Chief Whip and a Deputy Whip who must be members of the APC. I think the only position that we are not interested in is the Minority Leader. Let it remain minor in the hands of the minors in the opposition.”
He assured that his leadership would carry out extensive consultations with President Muhammad Buhari and all the leaders of the APC to perfect the zoning and who emerges the leaderships of the Assembly.
“We will work out a sensible zoning formula that will carry everybody along and give people chances to demonstrate their capacities and their capabilities. We are working on that. We will not share power in the House of the Representatives and the leadership must ensure that critical committees that drive government are chaired only by APC members.
“If the Nigeria people wanted them to be chairmen of committees they would have voted for them. So all the chairmen of committees, except one that is statutorily reserve for opposition, which is Public Account, they can have that. So, we would not do the kind of thing that happened the last time in which some APC members as members of the leading party became distance spectators in the management of committees, when PDP had majority of the strategic committees in the House. That will not happen in the next Assembly.
“We are aware that they believe they can use the divide and rule by sponsoring many people within our ranks to contest for which of the position so that they then become the king maker and in return the person will offer them some chairmanship seats. Honourable members and comrades, I am sure are not going to do business with them. We will see them as partners in progress but in the democracy the rule is, and it is a universal rule, majority must have their way but minority must be allowed to have their say.
“So PDP and other minority can have their say but working together APC must have its way in legislative agenda, in the leadership of the National Assembly and the leadership of the committees in the National Assembly. I thought we should make this thing clear so that those who may not understand what is happening don’t fall into the trap,” he warned.
Speaking on behalf of the House of Representatives first timers Olubunmi Tunde Ojo, who represents Akoko North-east North-west Federal Constituency, said the forum of first timers was united as a block.
“We are already talking to our colleagues in other smaller parties. We assured you that we will be loyal to the party,” he said.
Another member, Sanusi Garba who advised party leaders to learn from the just concluded election and start planning ahead of the 2023 general elections, called on the Oshiomhole-led NWC to keep all the elected members united instead of dividing them.