‘PDP senators, members free to seek any National Assembly office’

By Valentine Amanze

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that its elected senators and members of the House of Representatives were constitutionally eligible and could seek election into any presiding office of both chambers of the National
Assembly.
The party also pointed out that the office of the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Deputy Senate President and the Deputy Speaker were not the exclusive preserves of any political party, but a constitutional right of every elected lawmaker in both chambers.
The PDP, therefore, through its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said that it was laughable and
self-delusion for President Muhammadu Buhari and the factional National
Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, to posture as if the presiding offices and Committee Chairmanship in the National Assembly were exclusive rights of the APC.
Besides, the opposition party reminded President Buhari and Oshiomhole that the National Assembly belongs to no political party but to all Nigerians, who exercise their control through their elected representatives.
The PDP explained: “For emphasis, Section 50 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is clear in providing that ‘There shall be:- (a) a President and a Deputy President of the Senate, who shall be elected by the members of that
House from among themselves; and (b) a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves.
“Section 92 (1) makes the same provision for the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of State House of Assembly. The PDP, therefore, does not only have a constitutional say in the process of the emergence of the leadership of the 9th National Assembly, but will, as a matter of constitutional right, field candidates into presiding offices of both chambers, if need be.”
The PDP also reminded Buhari and Oshiomhole that the All Progressives Congress (APC)
had in the past benefited from the provisions of section 50, with the defection of then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, from the PDP to the APC, in October 2014, without
relinquishing the speakership of the House to the PDP, a development that was applauded by Buhari, as then opposition leader and the APC, through its former National Publicity Secretary, Lai
Mohammed.
It also pointed out that the former Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, echoed the Constitutional provision that “the constitution requires only that the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be elected by members of that House from among
themselves".
The PDP further stated that in June 2015, Hon. Terkimbi Ikyange and Hon. Peter Azi, both of APC, were elected Speakers of Benue and Plateau State Houses of Assembly, respectively, though their party, the APC, was minority in both Houses.
The PDP however explained that the party offices in the legislature were the Majority
and Minority Leaders and Deputy Leaders as well as Majority and Minority Whips and Deputy Whips, stressing, “Our party will take decisions on this in due course.”
The PDP, therefore, cautioned President Buhari, Oshiomhole and the APC to
respect the independence of the legislature, end their imposition plot
and sowing of seeds of discord among the lawmakers, as such is directly
against the overall national interest.

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