The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the leadership of the National Assembly is not an entitlement of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“It is laughable and amounts to empty grandstanding and self-delusion for President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, to pose as if the presiding offices and committee chairmanship in the National Assembly are exclusive rights of the APC,” PDP spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan said in a statement.
The leadership of the National Assembly has been the major subject of discussion since the election of legislators. APC hopes to avoid a repeat of 8th National Assembly in 2015 which was led by Bukola Saraki, who later joined the opposition PDP.
Currently, the APC has 64 senators-elect so far, while the PDP has 41 seats and Young Progressives Party (YPP) having one seat.
Oshiomhole has consistently emphasised that the party would ensure that its members in the Senate and House of Representatives take leadership of the National Assembly.
However, the PDP believes its legislative members also have the chance to lead the National Assembly despite being in the minority.
Ologbondiyan said, “President Buhari and Oshiomhole should wake up to the fact that the National Assembly belongs to no political party but to all Nigerians, who exercise their control through their elected representatives.”
He explained that, “For emphasis, Section 50 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is clear in providing that ‘There shall be:- (a) a president and a deputy president of the Senate, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves; and (b) a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves.’
“Section 92 (1) makes the same provision for the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of State House of Assembly.”
The PDP spokesman reminded President Buhari and Oshiomhole that “the APC had in the past benefited from the provisions of section 50, with the defection of then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, from the PDP to the APC, in October 2014, without relinquishing the speakership of the House to the PDP.”
Ologbodiyan added that “The PDP, therefore, does not only have a constitutional say in the process of the emergence of the leadership of the 9th National Assembly, but will, as a matter of constitutional right, field candidates into presiding offices of both chambers, if need be.”