A Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers has warned the national leadership and other leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) against interfering in the affairs of the 9th National Assembly.
While addressing a news conference Tuesday in Abuja, National Coordinator of the coalition, Pelumi Olajengbesi, stated that the lawmakers must be allowed to pick their leaders without external interference or threats.
He also urged the lawmakers to elect only leaders who are not stooges of any political godfather.
“We call on the members of the House of Representatives to do the needful and examine each prospective candidate for Speaker through a prism of unblemished records, a penchant for independent thought and action devoid of external influence, and one also dedicated to democratic ethos.
“Directly related to the above is the need to ensure that whoever is elected into the Speakership position must be a man free from the influence of godfathers and political sponsors. Loyalty to the Nigerian people is key and must be a priority.
“As our bitter experience has shown in the past, godfatherism in government breeds anarchy and divided loyalty. Nigerians want a Speaker that will be loyal to the Nigerian people and not any individual or party.
“It is in light of this that we caution the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the party’s National Leader, Asiwaju Tinubu to be mindful of their grandstanding and statements with regards to the Speakership election.
“The Speakership and even the Senate Presidency of the National Assembly should not be seen as a political party issue but a national one. No party or person has the prerogative of these positions, and this reflects the need for a transparent process devoid of external influence,” he said.
“The coalition also wondered why only two regions are being projected for leadership positions to the exclusion of other zones in the country.
“Due consideration must be given to equality in the process, and all regions must have a fair opportunity to vie for the Speaker-ship position.
The constitutional provision that public offices be filled in a manner that best reflects Federal Character is also sacrosanct.
“A top-down appraisal of regions, which have gained a significant position in the Federal Government, must be the guiding light in deciding on the leaders in the House of Representatives.
“Nigeria is made up of six geo-political zones all of which must be seen to be properly constituted into leadership roles at the federal level.
“Sadly, it has been our experience that some geo-political zones such as the Middle-Belt/North-Central South-East and South-South regions are habitually side-lined and favoured far below other sub-zones such as the core North and South West Nigeria.
While agitating for a level playing field, let it be noted that anything short of a constituted leadership that reflects Federal Character is an indication of early failure of the House of Representatives,” he added.
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