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An aspirant in the speakership race of the 10th House, Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has declared that he was going to abide by the zoning arrangements of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the party had zoned the positions of the Senate President of the 10th National Assembly to the South-south, Deputy Senate President North West, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, North-West and Deputy Speaker South East.
The ruling party also agreed on a consensus as the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio has been anointed as the next Senate President of the 10th Assembly, while Hon. Tajudeen Abass from Kaduna State and Benjamin Kalu were anointed the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House respectively.
Reacting to the news, Kalu, who has gotten the nod of the party to become deputy Speaker to Abass said he would respect the zoning arrangements, and that cohesion would lead to consolidation of the House and by extension the National Assembly in order for the party and incoming administration to succeed.
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‘My ambition was to be the Speaker of the House of Representatives. It is the party that gave me the platform to come to the House of Representatives. Consider the reasons I advanced for wanting to be in that position, which is the absence of a south easterner in that position for 40 years and the fact that we have men of capacity and competence that will be able to handle the responsibility of that mandate effectively.
‘But at the end of the day, the decision will be reached by the party that gave us platform to be winners and be here. I heard that a decision has been taken by the party and we are waiting for that pronouncement. We are also ready to go along with what the party wants in the spirit of being a true party man. That is the only way we can have cohesion in our party, the only way our party will be respected.’
Kalu also emphasised the importance of lobbying and canvassing for votes from colleagues beyond the party’s endorsement, saying, ‘In a democratic system, people lobby for votes. It does not end with the party saying this is the direction we are going.
‘You have to reach out to the minority parties and groups made up of people of different orientations. It is up to them to align with the philosophy that best captures their interest. So, we have work to do. To say the minority groups should be ignored will be living in fools paradise.’
The Eastern Updates reports that ahead of next month’s inauguration of the assembly, many zones in the country have continued to make cases for the NASS positions.