…I’ll be Speaker June 13, says Abbas
…We’ll bring parliamentary sovereignty – Kalu
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu Thursday met with Rep Tajudeen Abbas and Rep Benjamin Kalu his prefered candidates for the position of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives, respectively.
The meeting is coming on the heels of the inauguration of the 10th leadership of the National Assembly slated for June 13, 2023.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, Rep Tajudeen Abbas said he is optimistic that he would be the Speaker of the House of Representatives while Kalu would be his deputy.
He said that they were at the Presidential Villa to congratulate the President over his inauguration on May 29, 2023.
He dispelled the rumour that the House of Representatives would be a rubber stamp, stressing that nobody can manipulate the 360 members to make them do what will not be of national interest.
He said that the independence of the legislature would not be compromised under his leadership.
“You may recall that just two or three days ago, Mr President, the reign of power was handed over to him on May 29. And since then, we did not have any formal interactions. We felt that it is expedient as the candidates of the party for the number four and number six positions, there is a need for us to formally congratulate him on behalf of all members elect of the 10th assembly.
“But that’s just the reason why we’re here to basically congratulate Mr. President over his election and his inauguration as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We didn’t have any discussion concerning our opponents who are also aspiring to be Speakers and Deputy speakers. We restricted our discussions to the matters of the day.
“Issues that have to do with the challenges that this country is facing, particularly the economic and social challenges and what he intends to do within the next few days, beginning with what he has been done on the issue of fuel subsidy. Issues of other candidates candidates did not form part of what we discussed with Mr. President this afternoon,” he said.
On speculation in some quarters that they were anointed so that they would be a rubber stamp to the executive, he said: “First of all, I would want them to go back to history. Let them tell us even in the few instances where the people who were ordinarily not endorsed by the government of those days have done better than the leadership of the ninth assembly, which we all believe was about the first time in 12 years that the thinking of the members of the National Assembly coincided with the thinking of the executive.
“The ninth assembly is by far and I say it with all sense of humility, the best national assembly that the legislature and the executive had a very mutually beneficial relationship.
“So many things were accomplished. So many things that ordinarily we would not have thought or contemplated would be achieved were achieved.
“So whoever is talking about rubber stamp National Assembly does not know the workings of the National Assembly.
“Nobody, speaker or senate president, deputy speaker or deputy senate president, nobody can manipulate the 360 members of the House of Reps to make them do what is not in the best interest of the public.
“And we have shown from our conduct in the ninth assembly, that for the very first time, even with the cordial relationship between the executive and the legislature, we had cause for the very first time to summon Mr. President, to come to the National Assembly to address some issues of security as at that time.
“So if you’re talking about rubber stamp, I wonder if anyone can summon Mr. president to come and explain issues that ordinarily, he would have invited us to continue our office or assign somebody to come and answer our questions,” he said.
Also speaking, Rep Benjamin Kalu said their leadership would bring parliamentary sovereignty.
“In addition to what the speakership candidate just highlighted, what we’re bringing on board is parliamentary sovereignty. Sovereignty that will ensure that the borders of the mandate of the various arms of government will be respected.
“But also recognizing that interdependence is key towards achieving any national objective. We’re going to ensure that though we are three arms of government, that we understand that we are one government. So the national objective of the executive, if it is what the people want, will remain the national objective of the legislature.
“We are bringing on board impartiality of this man that just spoke to you now holding the gavel that will ensure that sentiments and emotions will not controlled the direction of the gavel.
“We’re bringing on board institutional trust that will make Nigerians believe more in the institution of our democracy called the legislature which is the fulcrum of our democracy. Because the more confidence they have in that institution, the more we will advance this democracy that people like Mr. President has fought for from the days of NADECO to sustain up to now.
“We’re bringing on board the balancing of inequalities that exists within our society. So Nigeria’s should rest assured that innovations, transformations, reforms are going to be introduced by us, not as your Mustang but as people who believe that the nation building should be a joint task involving the input of the executive and also the contribution of the legislative arm,” he said.