By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA – In a bid to avoid what it called the rebellion that characterized the emergence of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 8th Assembly, a group, the North Central Elders Forum (NCEF), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to consider zoning the speakership of the 9th House of Representatives to the North Central geo-political zone.
NCEF Chairman, Alhaji Muhammadu Ari Gwaska, gave the counsel while addressing a world press conference in Abuja, saying the North Central deserves the exalted office considering its contribution to the success of the ruling party in the 2019 elections.
He advised the ruling party to imbibe the traditions of party democracy which appropriates the spoils of office when elections are contested and won for the purpose of running an inclusive government and to accommodate divergent interests within the party.
According to Gwaska, the North Central is too strategic to be relegated in the sharing of power equation in Nigeria. He queried the insinuations that the South West is being considered by the leadership of the APC for the Speaker, saying that would very unfair to the North Central.
He argued that the zone since the Second Republic has continued to play a strategic role in representative government and has been the bridge between the northern and the southern part of the country.
The NCEF chair added that the North Central deserves the speakership based on the number of votes it contributed to the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari during the last Presidential and National Assembly elections.
He further noted that the forum believes in the ability, maturity and the exposure of the Deputy House Leader, Honourable Idris Wase, representing Wase Federal Constituency of Plateau State to be the Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives slated for inauguration on June 2019.
He said: “To forestall the rebellion act that upset the apple cart in 2015 which produced the Senate President and the Speaker from North Central and North East respectively which never had our backing; the national leadership of the APC must ensure that it does not inflict a sufficient damage on itself, which consequences can be better imagined in the selection and election of principal officers of the 9th House of Representatives.”
“The North Central has demonstrated its loyalty and strength to the APC both in 2015 and 2019. In 2019, we contributed 2,441,013 votes to President Buhari compared to South West’s votes of 2,036,450.
When asked about the aspiration of Honourable Umar Bago from Niger State who is also aspiring to be the Speaker, the NCEF chairman said the elders will reach out to him (Bago) to support the candidature of his elder brother, Idris Wase.