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Nigeria News

NASS Leadership: Power of Minority Lawmakers

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Democracy is sweeter when the minority also has the power to choose their leaders.

When the majority have their ways and the minority have their says.

When superior arguments subdue the inferior submissions on the floor of the house and the opposition members of the minority groups do not debate to favour their political parties but the interest of the nation.

I could remember that as a chief whip of the Federal House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila stood for the then Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan to become the president, following the ill health of late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua.

Of course, Gbajabiamila was the chief among the minority members in the house, his submission traversed party politics.

He was chosen by the minority members to lead in the house that was dominated by the members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Today, Gbajabiamila has risen to become the Majority Leader. He is bent on becoming the speaker against all odds. He is the APC anointed candidate with hurdles to cross within the party and among the opposition party.

There are six positions to be filled as lawmakers jostle for the leadership of the house of representatives.

The speaker, deputy speaker, majority leader, deputy majority leader, chief whip and deputy chief whip.

The plan of the APC is to ensure that all the six geo-political zones of the country are represented in the leadership; that is the North East, Northcentral, Northwest, Southwest, South-south and Southeast.

With Gbajabiamila of the southwest strongly favoured to lead the House, one will expect a south-south or a Northcentral member of the house to clinch the deputy speakership position.

Besides the speakership and majority leadership positions, the chief whip and his deputy are positions for the minority and they should be allowed to choose who should represent them at the leadership level.

Let us remember that there are women legislators who are also interested in these positions.

They are in the minority that has become so silent when it comes to leadership in the National Assembly.

The Southeast federal lawmakers are feeling alienated in this calculation but they can act as spoilers for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Agreed that Gbajabiamila’s persona cuts across the political and ethnic divides, the lawmakers from the southeast are on the PDP platform.

They will not like to toe the same path as APC. This will work against Gbajabiamila but his opponent in the race to the speakership seat.

This situation has given power to the minority because they have the majority votes for whosoever they decide to choose among the candidates of the majority party.

The APC anointed candidates may have to lobby their way through closing ranks with members of the opposition so that the 2015 saga where the minority candidates emerged as deputy speaker will not happen.

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