•Don’t forget North Central if you win, Lalong urges
•Governors appeal for respect for party’s authority
•Zulum tasks duo on inclusive leadership
Udora Orizu in Abuja
The speakership candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 10th House, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, has disclosed that not less than 107 members-elect from opposition parties had agreed to back him and Hon. Benjamin Kalu to emerge speaker and deputy speaker respectively.
Abass made the disclosure, when he and Kalu visited the official residence of the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, in Abuja.
Briefing the governor on reasons for the visit earlier, both Abbas and Kalu, as well as the Joint Task Coalition Chairman, Hon. Bello Kumo congratulated him for a job well done at the just concluded presidential election.
They expressed appreciation for the sacrifices he made to take on the challenges of marketing the party’s presidential ticket even in the face of mounting pressure.
The duo, however, informed the governor that theirs was a unity project that sought to reestablish national loyalty and cohesion in the polity.
“So, we are here, Your Excellency, in spite of the fact that you have two candidates, to plead with you to support our course, because our course is a Nigerian course. We are a unity project members here.
“We have membership across all the eight political parties. And I can tell with confidence, sir, that our last count as at yesterday (Sunday), we have 107 minority party members onboard this project,” he said.
Lalong, while congratulating members for winning their elections, called on the speakership and Deputy Speakership candidates to remain true to the attributes that endeared them to the party’s leadership which informed their selection and endorsement.
He stressed the need for respect and loyalty to the party at all times irrespective of personal political interest, and further appealed to the duo not to forget North Central if they emerge Speaker, Deputy in June.
“As DG campaign, I was very loyal, and I remain loyal to the President-elect, who was my boss and also the Vice President-elect and also to the leader of the party for now, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So, today we have elected a President, and have elected a Vice President. Definitely, their words will be our wisdom.
“So I will say that I have listened to you. I can say you are even the first person to have come to me, in spite of the fact that I have two of my own that also indicated interest. But I granted you audience to see you. And I saw you. When I said I saw you, you know what I mean. But if you become the Speaker and deputy, look at some of our interests too in the North Central Zone.
“Not that they are crying, they are crying on our behalf. So if you get it please don’t forget us in the North Central. But as I have received this message, I want to assure you that I will carry it forward. Even in the absence of the President-elect, the Vice President-elect is already moving and the DG must support him for us to move forward,” Lalong said
The Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, also called on the candidates for the presiding officers’ positions in the 10th assembly to do something about endemic political corruption in the country, when they assume leadership of the House.
Zulum made the call when a campaign delegation of the duo led by the chairman of the Joint Task–10th Assembly Coalition, Hon. Usman Bello Kumo paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
The governor noted that little development is being achieved in the country at the moment due to political corruption that has robbed the people of the benefits of abundant resources, urging the duo to extend hands of fellowship to other aspirants seeking the same position when God willing they get there.
“Most importantly, I urge you to look into the issues of political corruption in Nigeria when you take over the mantle of leadership at the National Assembly. We have unlimited resources in Nigeria but endemic corruption will not let us see the benefits of what the people have been blessed with by God.
“And if we keep glossing over the issue of corruption Nigeria will continue to go round in circle without achieving anything meaningful in terms of development or advancement. I’m happy that we have opposition parties in this movement, we have PDP and other opposition parties supporting you. So carry everyone along in your leadership,” Zulum said.
Speaking to journalists after an hour long meeting with the candidates behind closed doors, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, stressed the importance of showing respect for constituted authority.
He said while it’s not in his place to assess the candidates, who already enjoy the support of the ruling party and the President and Vice President-elect, he will sit with members-elect from his state to discuss on the need to be on the winning team.
“I’m not in a position to assess the candidates. As a politician, I know he’s the endorsed person by the President-elect and the Vice President-elect, and as someone who has a lot of experience in democracy and parliamentary practice, I know there should be respect for constituted authority. I know there should be synergy between the executive and the legislature,” he said