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APC in panic mode as Opposition claims majority in House of Reps

Following the outcome of last Saturday’s supplementary elections, swelling the number of the elected members of opposition parties in the coming 10th House of Representatives to 182, one vote more than the statutory benchmark 181 votes required to elect a speaker, the opposition caucus has resolved to clinch the position of the No.4 citizen of Nigeria.

The opposition parties won seats than the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25, 2023 elections for the House of Representatives. More than 30 seats were however not decided until the supplementary polls held on April 15, 2023.

The Independent National Electoral Commission is yet to publish a comprehensive list of members-elect for the National Assembly. The commission has not published an updated list from the one it released before the April 15 supplementary polls.

According to a list released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the April 15 supplementary polls, the APC won 162 seats while the seven opposition parties had won 163 seats.

The lawmakers from the seven political parties that won election into the 10th House of Representatives after a recent emergency meeting in Abuja stated that it was primed to contest the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the 10th National Assembly.

Speaking with journalists on the position of the Caucus, a member-elect from Anambra, Victor Afam Ogene, stated that the Nigerian constitution permits every elected member with the statutory right to gun for any leadership position, subject to the standing orders of the House.

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“Besides the issue of ranking, every member is entitled to run for the office of Speaker, regardless of political party affiliation.

“The All Progressives Congress (APC) or any political party for that matter, reserves the right to regale itself with talks about micro-zoning leadership positions in the National Assembly. But the overriding question remains, are such fanciful engagements binding on the generality of members-elect? The answer today, tomorrow and until our current constitution is altered to reflect that desire is a big No.

“Issues surrounding this all-important question is easily resolved, in the case of the House of Representatives, by Section 50(1)(b), to wit:” There shall be a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves.

“While zoning is permitted, as an intra-party solution to the sharing of political offices, seeking to enforce such on the generality of members would be tantamount to affronting Section 50 of the Nigerian constitution.

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“Besides, political parties must not always use the National Assembly as guinea pigs for their zoning fancies. Why didn’t these governors summon the same courage, which they currently seek to flaunt, during the presidential primaries, by micro-zoning the presidency to a particular zone? If it was okay to say that the presidential ticket should go to the South, then I think they ought to follow through with that same template, and propose, for instance, that the Speakership should go to the North,” Ogene said.

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