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House speakership race splits minority caucus

National Assembly building. Photo: Archieve/Radio Nigeria.

The controversy trailing the race for the speakership of the 10th House of Representatives has split the minority caucus.

This became visible when a faction known as minority parties forum adopted the APC consensus candidates, Tajudeen Abass and Benjamin Kalu for speaker and deputy speaker.

The minority parties forum at the meeting attended by 68 members settled for Abass and Kalu sequel to a motion moved by Tijani Abdulkadir of the NNPP from Kano state and seconded by Agbodike Pascal of APGA from Anambra state.

The leader of the forum, Iduma Igariwey of the PDP from Ebonyi state, affirmed the adoption of the APC backed lawmakers for speaker and deputy speaker.

“That in furtherance of our resolve to play a leading role in the formation of the leadership of the 10th Assembly and as a result of our diligent interactions with all aspirants for the position of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, we hereby resolve to support the duo of Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu respectively as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“That we have found in the two persons of Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu, a leadership that will allow for fairness, equity as well as provide equal platform for all political parties represented in Parliament to have a say in the running of the legislature and expression of alternate views on issues of public interest,” he said.

Igariwey said the decision would be discussed in the next few days by the larger caucus of the minority parties.

On the other hand, the spokesperson of the other faction, Afam Ogene, at a meeting in Abuja said they would no longer contest for the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the incoming 10th National Assembly.

This according to him was because no one has presented himself/herself for the offices.

Ogene revealed that they have also meet with those aspiring for the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives but because they have not briefed their members, he will not go into details of the interface.

Reporting by Ibrahim Shehu; Editing by Chinasa Ossai and Annabel Nwachukwu