Ahead the appointment of the leadership of 10th National Assembly (NASS), Vice-President-elect Kashim Shettima gathered the incoming House of Representatives members for a meeting on Friday urging them to favor the All Progressives Congress (APC) chosen members.
The event, which included both returning and new lawmakers, took place at Shettima’s residence in Abuja and was orchestrated by the Joint Task, a coalition of eight political parties, including the APC.
Shettima at the meeting urged the contenders for the speaker and deputy positions to potentially step aside in favour of Tajudden Abbas and Benjamin Kalu, respectively.
Information Nigeria had on Monday reported that Abbas and Kalu were selected by the Party a preferred candidates for the presiding officers of the House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, other APC representatives have voiced concerns over the Party’s choice, adding that they were not consulted in the decision-making process.
Addressing the incoming representatives, Shettima pledged to connect with the other contenders to garner support for the party’s preferred candidates.
“I will take it upon myself to reach out to the other contenders. Muktar Betara is my brother. We are from the same sub-region, we are from the same state and I have the best relationship with him.
“I met him two nights ago, I will sustain that discussion so that at the end of the day there will be no winner, no vanquished.
“Around 1 pm today(Friday) I met with Idris Wase, the deputy speaker. He is someone very close to me. We will continue with the engagements so that we shall have a rancour-free 10th assembly.
“Mariam Onuoha is my friend, I will reach out to her so that together, we can form one person,” he said.
The vice-president-elect cited examples from past presidencies to illustrate the negative impact of a strained relationship between the executive and the legislature.
Shettima said, “When Obasanjo lost grip of the national assembly, his first tenure was a failure. It was largely enmeshed in one crisis after another. It was when he got a grip on the national assembly — not a complaint national assembly, but a united national assembly. (He was then) able to achieve a lot in his second term.
“President Muhammadu Buhari could do little in his first term fundamentally because of rancorous or the strained relationship between the executive and the legislature. What was accomplished in the last four years was because of the harmonious relationship between the executive and legislature.
“When President Goodluck Jonathan lost grip of the national assembly when Aminu Waziri Tambuwal emerged as the speaker, that rancorous relationship eventually culminated in his defeat in the 2015 general election.”
Responding, Abbas assured that he and Kalu will work diligently and effectively.
“We will discharge our responsibility with utmost efficiency,” Abbas stated, pledging that, if elected, they would work harmoniously with the national assembly to foster a cooperative environment.