Recently, President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in a signed statement titled “Nigeria at the Cusp of Renewed Hope”, declared that he would rather seek a government of national competence in putting together his cabinet instead of considering primordial sentiments such as religion.
With the gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections over, all eyes will be on the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), as it settles down to roll out a zoning formula for the presiding and principal officers’ positions in the National Assembly. And in doing so, it is imperative that the party should be guided by the position enunciated by the national leader of the party and president-elect.
There is no doubt that the nation is in dire straits hence the need to get competent, experienced and capable hands to drive the process of the “Renewed Hope” agenda.
This, therefore, means that inasmuch as other sensitive factors are being considered in the sharing of positions, competence, experience and character must not be sacrificed at the altar of primordial considerations.
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Of course, looking at the geopolitical zones, one would discover that the North Central has never occupied the position of speaker since the return of democracy in 1999.
The North Central has held the position of the Senate president, deputy Senate president and deputy Speaker. And in the just concluded governorship and states’ assembly elections, the North Central was able to win Benue, Kwara, Nasarawa and Niger.
The party already controls Kogi State and returned massive votes during the presidential and National Assembly elections. So, it is only natural to reward the geopolitical zone with the position of speaker.
Coming down to the North Central, Rt Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase CON is not only the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives but also the highest-ranking lawmaker from the zone, who was first elected in 2007.
In fact, because of his experience, it would be appropriate to say that Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase should be accorded the right of first refusal. It can only be proper if the APC takes introspection and sees how best the landmark achievements by the Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila-led leadership could be sustained and improved upon.
The deputy speaker is one of the most experienced of all the returning lawmakers in the House. With 16 years cognate experience in the parliament holding key positions, Wase stands shoulders high. In his four terms as a legislator, Wase has held chairmanship of key committees such as federal character.
His experience is indeed not in doubt as he has amassed many groundbreaking bills to his credit. One of such bills is the creation of additional orthopaedic hospitals in three of the nation’s six geopolitical zones – Jos (North Central), Benin, (South South) and Taraba (North East). Another one is the Federal Medical Centre, Wase (Establishment) Act.
He was deputy majority leader in the 8th Assembly and is currently the first deputy speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament. This is no mean feat. As the first deputy speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, he has been a champion of Nigeria’s national interest within the broader interest of the West African sub-region.
As the chairman of the Ad hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, Wase achieved uncommon milestones as the president has just assented to some of the bills passed on the amendment of the constitution. Some of these assented bills will promote true federalism, devolution of powers from the centre to the states and the strengthening of government institutions.
It is axiomatic that Deputy Speaker Wase is a party man to the core and who, following in the steps of the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has never decamped or changed parties. He started with ACN until the party collapsed into APC in 2014. He has remained consistent to date. One thing the party must not lose sight of is Wase’s humility and loyalty to party decisions.
Most significantly, Wase is a reliable team player and a humble man. It will be recalled that Wase and Gbajabiamila have been working together since 2017 when he deputised the speaker, who was then the House Leader. The duo never had any issues up to the end of the 8th Assembly. In the 9th Assembly, as deputy speaker, he has maintained a cordial working relationship with the speaker.
In almost four years, there has never been any conflict between the two presiding officers. This has created an ambience of peace and tranquillity in the lower chamber. In fact, Wase’s stabilizing effect in the chamber is unequalled.
There is no doubt that he is a hard and relentless worker. He is recorded to be the deputy speaker with the highest number of sessions chaired and the highest number of reports considered in the history of the House of Representatives.
A highly principled and respected man, who believes in equity, fairness and justice in resource allocation and distribution, Wase has over the years developed a reputation amongst colleagues and non-colleagues alike of being a very generous legislator who freely gives his time and resources for the benefit of all.
The deputy speaker is known for his persistent and unrelenting quest to pursue the interest and welfare of other fellow members.
Flowing from these, the party will do itself and Nigerians a big favour by zoning the position of the speaker to the North Central and thereafter endorsing the candidature of Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase as the speaker of the 10th House of Representatives. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
Puma is the Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives
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