Monday, 25 March 2019

Desperation Will Make Senators, Reps Repeat Saraki’s Stunt — Abdulmumin Jibrin

Jubrin Abdulmumin, a member of the House of Representatives from Kano State, has expressed fears that high level lobbying already going on among elected senators and House of Representatives members over leadership positions in the 9th legislature may result in similar circumstances that saw Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara clinching the positions in the 8th NASS.

According to the former chairman of Appropriations Committee, who was once suspended by the House, what lawmakers should be looking out for ahead of the inauguration of the ninth Assembly should be leaders who are ready to commit to electronic system or reforms in the National Assembly, such that when lawmakers are voting on any bill, the constituencies where they come from will be visible.

The member who was at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, at the weekend to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari on his re-election, made these observations before the number one citizen.

He said any member aspiring to occupy leadership position in NASS, should be ready to commit to opening up attendance of members, publish it, so that our constituents will be able to see whether their members or senators attend sittings or not.

According to Abdulmumin, who became famous following “budget padding” in the 8th Assembly, a prospective Senate President or Speaker should be ready to commit to town hall meetings that are attended by members, including a desire to run a functional constituency office that funds are always provided for.

Asked what was his mission to the State House and he had this to say, “Of course, I met with Mr. President, first to greet him as usual, for all he has done and to also congratulate him and offer few advice.

“Because we all know the political issues now as matters related to the election of the leadership of the National Assembly”.

When State House correspondents asked him if he was nursing any fears over the underground lobbying, he said, “Well the position of our party and our leaders has always been that all elected members and of course, senators should exercise patience, work is going on, consultations are being carried out and I believe that no elected senator or members of APC would allow himself to be used by the opposition like in the case of 2015.

“In the case of 2015, there wasn’t consequences, but I am pretty sure that this time around, if anybody allowed himself to be used by the opposition party, there will certainly be consequences.

“That is what is expected. But as you are also aware, they are mature people, they are elected members, there are need for engagement, need for a lot of lobbying – that is what is obtainable all over the world. And we have in the person of the president, our father, who is reaching out to everybody and of course the party chairman and other leaders working day and night consulting members and lobbying where they should so that at the end of the day we can have a very smooth leadership election.

“But of course, that is not to say that there is no some kind of elements of desperation as you can see, a lot of people coming out to indicate interest. Personally, I have complained about that and the way and manner they are going about it, it’s a bit unhealthy for the party, because at the end of the day only one person will emerge Senate President and only one person will become the Speaker and other principal officers.

“So we need to start imbibing the culture of putting the country first or the party first before ourselves. Personally, I have demonstrated that because I have indicated that I am not interested in gunning for the office of the speaker, deputy speaker or any principal officer because of how chucked up the whole system is as regard the number of people that are contesting.

“Just to open up space, and allow some of us to sit down and organise and ensure that the government and of course the party, eventually have the kind of parliament or the kind of leadership of the National Assembly that they can work with harmoniously.

“One of the very important issues that we tend to forget is that completely the narrative has changed. All of us tend to be focused on who you want, who want to contest, who wants powers, who wants to grab office A or office B.

“We have completely forgotten that what is equally important is for us to start asking the question, what commitment is the person who will emerge or we are ready to support, ready to commit to the basic issues.”

I’ll Respect APC’s Position On Zoning— Lawan

Meanwhile, Senator Ahmad Lawan, one of the frontline aspirants for the position of Senate President in the incoming National Assembly, said on Sunday that he was ready to subject his aspiration to the decision of the party on zoning.

According to him, as a politician, he believes in the supremacy of the party and, as such, would withdraw from the race the moment the party zoned the position to another geo-political zone different from his.

Declaring his interest in the office of Senate President at an interactive session with newsmen in Lagos on Sunday, Senator Lawan said his determination was to preside over a Senate that worked for Nigeria and Nigerians irrespective of political or other sectional considerations.

“I will respect the party supremacy and I will respect the wishes of my party if it decides to zone the Senate President to another zone that is not my own,” he said.

He also said his aspiration had received the support of a majority of his colleagues in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and other political parties.

Lawan, the Senate Leader in the eighth National Assembly, said his desire to become the number three citizen was about working for the interest of all Nigerians, irrespective of their ethnic, religious, or political affiliations.

He said: “Senator Ifeanyi Ubah is here. He is from YPP stock. We have been talking to everyone, even PDP senators-elect. We have a secretariat and we visit people in their homes whose names I can’t mention here.

“But we have so many PDP senators-elect who have identified with this aspiration. What we are doing is not about APC. What we are doing is about Nigeria and Nigerians. When we provide a secure country, it is for all Nigerians, whether you are APC or PDP or you have no political party at all.

“This is 2019 and I know that for us, in the National Assembly, attention will be on the emergence of our leadership that will work for Nigerians between 2019 and 2023.

“One thing I will like to say is that my party should remain focused and not get distracted. We are already facing the right direction in terms of giving Nigerians leadership.

“We must do everything together in the legislature and the administration to deliver to Nigerians who have reposed confidence in President Buhari and the APC by voting us for a second term.”

Senator Lawan was accompanied by a powerful lobby group of senators, including Senators Oluremi Tinubu, Francis Alimekhena, Teslim Folarin, Aliyu Shabi, Fola Adeola, among others.

Also with him were some newly elected senators, including senator-elect Opeyemi Bamidele, Ifeanyi Ubah, among others.

While declaring his belief in the principle of separation of powers, he nevertheless affirmed that the principle was not an infinite elasticity as he said that all arms of government must have a convergent relationship to project the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Declaring how he had over the years remained consistent in the opposition despite the lure of the former ruling PDP, he said: “This is the first time I have been in a party running the government. I was in the ANPP throughout till we came to power.

“I am a believer in the separation of powers, but it is not an infinite elasticity.”

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