The Arewa Progressive Congress has appealed to the members-elect of the ninth assembly, not to embarrass the country by electing a Speaker “with questionable past, tinted antecedents, and a barrage of court cases”.
The congress gave the admonition at a media briefing on Saturday in Abuja, ahead of the May 11 inauguration and the election of the leadership of the ninth National Assembly.
The Chairman of the congress, Alhaji Ali Abacha, said the incoming lawmakers must look at the antecedents of the contestants to make a choice that would not embarrass the country, and make Nigeria a laughing stock in the comity of nations.
“We are particularly concerned about who will eventually emerge the leader of the green chamber. As the day of decision inches closer, there is the need for the lawmakers to peruse the credentials of those presently angling for the exalted position.
“A close look at the antecedents of some of the contestants would suffice for the incoming lawmakers to make a choice that would not embarrass the country and make Nigeria a laughing stock in the comity of nations.
He added: “Regardless of the volume of money spent by any aspirant, what counts most as lawmakers take an important decision that will guide the destiny of the green chamber for the next four years, should be the level of patriotism and integrity of whoever emerges as the speaker.
“Any candidate with court cases should be told to clear himself of litigations before contesting for the number four position. Electing a speaker with a piece of baggage of court cases is tantamount to the mockery of our selection process.”
Abacha also noted that having a speaker with questionable past and tinted antecedents would negate the anti-corruption stance of the government of the day.
He stressed that the “next level’ administration should excise men with a blemish in the polity if the international community would take the fight against corruption seriously.
“It is on record that President Muhammadu Buhari predicates his agenda on the tripod of fighting insecurity, repositioning the economy and waging war against corruption. We are particularly impressed with the president’s zeal to extirpate corruption from the national polity.
"The president has done his best possible to improve the local and international perception of the country. Such gains must not be dissipated with the enthronement of any individual with integrity question as to the speaker of the ninth House of Representatives. All hands must be on deck to support the President in this onerous task of fighting against corruption especially at the highest level. It is on this note that men of goodwill must rise against the possibility of an emergence of a Speaker with a questionable character,” he said.
The chairman noted that the ruling party had zoned the position of the speaker to the South-west.
He added that though the onus of choosing a speaker rests solely on the 360 members-elect, their choice should reflect the wishes of the majority of Nigerians who voted them into power.