- Says Buhari needs legislative support to fight corruption, insecurity
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has vowed that the party will not allow a non member of its coucus in the National Assembly to occupy any position meant for the party.
He said the ruling party will ensure that all the leadership positions in the National Assembly including chairmen of committees, except the ones that are statutorily reserved for opposition, are occupied by APC members.
Oshiomhole who spoke on Monday at an interactive session with newly elected members in the House of Representatives at the Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja said the APC was aware of the clandestine meetings already being held by the PDP to plot how to infiltrate APC ranks for pecuniary gains.
He said the APC national leadership is determined to checkmate any such attempt by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to apply the tactics it used in 2015 to pick up plum positions in the National Assembly.
“We will not share power in the House of Representatives and the leadership must ensure that critical committees that drive government are chaired only by APC members. If the Nigerian people wanted PDP to be chairmen of committees they would have voted for them,” he said.
Oshiomhole said in the 9th National Assembly, APC will not allow disunity amongst its members, adding that “PDP and other minority parties can have their say but working together, APC must have it way in legislative agenda, in the leadership of the National Assembly and the leadership of the committees in the National Assembly”.
The APC national chairman said the administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari will require the full support of the legislature to ensure that it delivers on the fight against corruption, insecurity and other key promises made to Nigerians.
He warned newly elected APC members to avoid the PDP trap and work as a united team to ensure that the government’s policy trust is given the necessary backing by the National Assembly.
“So all the chairmen of committees, except one that is statutory 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 tbey can use the divide and rule by sponsoring many people within our ranks to contest for some of the positions 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 you are not going to do business with them. We will see them as partners in progress but in democracy the rule is, and it is a universal rule, majority must have their way but minority must be allowed to have their say,” he said.
Out of the 223 members of the APC in the incoming House of Representatives, 164 are first timers, while 59 are reelected members.
While urging the new legislators to support the party leadership, Oshiomhole said the National Working Committee is going to consult President Buhari as well as other party leaders in an effort to arrive at an appropriate zoning formula.
While urging the new federal lawmakers not to allow anybody to divide them, Oshiomhole assured that his leadership will carry out extensive consultations with President Buhari and all the leaders of the APC.
“We will work out a sensible zoning formular that seels to carry everybody along and give people chances to demonstrate their capacities and their capabilities. We are working on that.
“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 one billion naira 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,” he said.
While responding to the chairman’s entreaties, one of the cordinators of the newly Elected APC House of Representatives Forum and a member from Ondo state, Olubumi Tunde Ojo, assured the leadership of the party of the support of members.
Also another member, Hon. Ugonna Ozuligbo, representing Nkwere Ideato, Isu Federal Constituency of Imo state, said he and his colleagues were going to ensure that the party remains supreme and that its decisions are upheld.