Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger state, on Wednesday, said he would do everything possible to ensure the position of speakership of House of Representatives in the 9th Assembly comes to his state.
The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) had zoned the position to South West, with special interest in Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila who is currently the Majority Leader.
But Governor Bello, while addressing members-elect at Transcorp, said it was not proper for the party to have neglected the North Central zone and Niger state in particular, who have contributed greatly to the success of the party in Nigeria.
Represented by his deputy, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, the Governor said the government and people of Niger state would make sure Hon. Umar Mohammed Bago was returned as Speaker.
“I was directed by His Excellency to represent him here today. Going by our own record since 2015 to 2019, when you check the record, Niger State is about rated 6th in times of performance when it comes to deliver for APC in presidential elections.
“Governorship election, both all our 10 House of Representatives members, the 3 Senators and the 27 House of Assembly members in Niger state are all APC.
“This particular position of speakership is not in contest and it is not a miscalculation when you check the record since 2015, we have a zoning pattern. The essence of zoning is to reduce tension and allow other regions to benefit.
“Today, on behalf of His Excellency and the people of Niger state, we are appealing to all the members-elect that this particular position should come to North Central, and to Niger state.
“We as a government will do everything humanly possible, both in morale support and otherwise, to ensure this position come to Niger state”, the Governor said.
He promised to reach out to members-elect, “one by one, to ensure this position come to Niger state”.
On his part, the top contender for speakership, Hon. Bago, said he would not have contested if APC had given the position to South East, adding that the North Central had been neglected for long.
“We have decided to come this far in this journey, because we believe in equity.
“North Central is an integral part of this union called Nigeria. We have given our best to make APC where it is today, we are responsible also for the victory of our party.
“In a union where you have six zones and two have been settled, the presidency has gone to North West and the vice presidency has gone to South West, we are left with four. It is only just for the remaining four zones to be allowed to participate.
“No man is an island to himself, we must work as a team. My position here is, what is good for the goose, is good for the gander.
“As Honourable members, we have a responsibility to protect one another, and another responsibility we have is to tell each other the truth.
“If they had zoned the speakership to south eastern part, I would not have contested it.
“In honesty, we cannot be second class citizen in our own country. We will not take it for anyone to impose a Speaker on us from Lagos state, it is not possible”, Bago added.
Since the APC zoned the position to South West, about seven aspirants who are returning, have indicated interests, with more APC lawmakers itching to declare soon.
Amongst those interested in the position of speakership are,
House spokesman Abdulrazak Namdas (Adamawa), Mukhtar Aliyu Betara (Borno), Idris Wase (Plateau), Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (Abia), John Okafor (Imo), Babangida Ibrahim (Katsina) and Mohammed Kazaure (Jigawa).
They are all of the ruling party, APC.Source: