By Tom Okpe
Ahead of inauguration of the 10th National House of Representatives, race for who emerged speaker of the 10th session gathers momentum, with posters and banners of Yusuf Adamu Gagdi on Monday, seen at the All Progressive Congress, (APC) National Secretariat, Abuja.
The posters and banners bearing the inscription: ‘Gagdi for Speaker, 2023 10th Assembly’ were displayed at the entrance and inside the Muhammadu Buhari House, Party Secretariat, Wuse 2 Abuja.
The 42-year old lawmaker represents, Pankshin/Kanam/Kanke Federal Constituency of Plateau State on the platform of the ruling party, APC.
While the ruling party is yet to zone the leadership positions in both chambers of the National Assembly, some lawmakers are already eyeing the seat of the speaker of the green chamber.
The top contenders for the speaker so far include; the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase (APC, Plateau); Gagdi (APC, Plateau), the Chairman House Committee on Navy; Muktar Aliyu Betara (APC, Borno); Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia); Aminu Jaji (APC, Zamfara); and Alhassan Ado Doguwa (APC, Kano) and Tajudeen Abbas (APC, Kaduna).
Gagdi who had signified interest in the race and is undergoing serious consultations has been receiving backing of many Nigerians, especially the youths who are clamouring for the speakership of the House after the presidency and the senate president might be taken by the elderly.
Though, the posters and banners sighted at the APC National Secretariat bears the name of supporters, it was gathered that Nigerian youths and critical stakeholders from north-central, a zone which has not produced the speaker in the past 30 years were behind it.
There has been the clamour for the Speaker of the House to be ceded to the North-central geopolitical zone and the youths.
Also known as Middle Belt, the North-central geopolitical zone comprises of six states, Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger and Plateau as well as the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT).
The only time the North-central zone produced a Speaker of the House was in 1983 when Chaha Biam from Benue State was elected to the exalted office which he served barely two months, (October to December) and the military ousted the Second Republic.
Soon after the general election from the APC Youth Stakeholders Forum, North-central asked the ruling party and President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to zone the Speaker of the House position to the region.
The forum said the geo-political zone deserves the office given, its contributions to the electoral victory of the party and the President-elect against all odds and intimidations.
The leader of the forum, Dominic Alancha, said the performance of the party in the north-central was a testament to the fact that the region remains the swing zone stressing that any party that the zone flips to is primed to always win the election.
According to him: “It is on record that since 2015, 2019 and now in 2023 respectively the north central has been flipping APC for victory. Indeed, our region has remained faithful to the ideals of the APC for a good course.
“It will not be out of place if we as a region call on our great party the All Progressive Party APC to consider and zone the position of the Speaker of the 10th of representatives to the North-central, given her outstanding performance in the just concluded 2023 general election and for fairness and equity.
“As a sagacious leader, we have no fears about your ability to fetch the best hands for further assignments. Another point, which we shall quickly want to stress to you is that, please sir make your government a youth-friendly one. This is imperative.”
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Also, a public affairs analyst, Andrew Agbese while also canvassing for the position said: “With the current arrangement where the President-elect comes from the South-West and the Vice President-elect from the North-East, it is expected that the Senate presidency would go to the South-East, while the position of Deputy Senate President would go to the North-West. Then, the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker should go to the North-Central and South-South regions respectively.
“This will ensure fairness and equity and give all the zones a sense of belonging in the next administration. Moreover, the North-Central zone has contributed massively to the victory of the APC during the Presidential and National Assembly elections that it should be given priority consideration in the allocation of political offices.”
In particular, the Middle Belt Progressives Youths had asked APC to nominate Gagdi for the Speakership position even as he was still consulting.
The President of the group, Danladi Ahmed had said as a youth, the 42-year-old legislator has the experience to be the speaker.
“As the party prepares to work out the zoning arrangements for the next 10th National Assembly, we would like to make case for Yusuf Gagdi, the member representing Pankshin/Kanam/Kanke Federal Constituency of Plateau State to emerge the next Speaker of the House of Representatives,” the statement reads.
“We also urged the party leadership to zone the Speakership position to the North Central geopolitical zone in the interest of justice, fairness and inclusive participation in governance.
“Gagdi, who currently chairs the House Committee on Navy, is a vibrant and versatile lawmaker who has all the requisite legislative experience and leadership acumen to pilot the affairs of the 10th House of Representatives.”
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