Coalition of Northern Patriotic Front, South West Professionals, Coalition of Arewa Youth Groups have asked the current spokesman of the House, Benjamin Kalu to perish his ambition to contest for the position of Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives because of his lack in the requisite qualities to lead the green chambers.
At a press conference in Abuja on Thursday the President of Arewa Youths Tijjani Abdulmumuni who spoke on behalf of the Coalition asked the lawmaker to tell Nigerians his role in the presidential election that took place in the South -east to warrant his party’s leadership to entrust such sensitive position to him.
The group said, the candidate that will possibly emerge speaker from the South East region is as much an issue of interest to the country and the APC as it is to the South-east.
“Therefore, the likes of Benjamin Kalu who obviously do not possess the prerequisite qualities to man the House should burry their ambitions of becoming speaker and be patient to learn the ropes and allow themselves to be groomed.
“He must learn from the process that brought Hon Gbajabiamila in.
“This press conference is called to raise concern on certain issues concerning the leadership of this country, perhaps where we might find ourselves again if we failed to speak up when it’s necessary. It’s not about who gets what or takes what; it’s about the interest of the country.
“We have heard recently how some groups have also lended their voices and even advised the President-elect, on how the leadership of the National Assembly should be constituted.
“We have observed that the contest for the Leadership of the 10th National Assembly, of which the APC is in firm control, has become, for some a theatre to display their naivety.
“As experienced political players and stakeholders, we are all aware that the National Assembly is the ‘engine room’ of the success of any government, not that alone, we must be reminded that the growth of our democracy owned much to the quality of leadership we produce in our parliament, especially at National Assembly.
“A party that fails to get the leadership of the National Assembly right, may not witness major development.
“The 8th Assembly is a classical example, where President Muhammadu Buhari-led government could not do much because of the emergence of rebellious group within the APC who worked at cross purpose against the policies of the ruling party throughout their stint. This alone cost the government and indeed the country a huge setback.
“The elections have come and gone and we observed that those who sold the party to the opposition, especially in the South East where it’s now rumoured that the next Speaker may emerge from, are the same people whose voices have been so loud in the race to take over the leadership in House.
“It is a given fact that the departing speaker, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, has manifestly raised the bar of leadership of the House with his experience and command performance in the last eight years.
“It’s therefore expected that the tempo should be sustained to make this institution an admiration for other developing democracies.
“Femi’s illustrious outing has made the choosing of a worthy successor all the more inevitable. Any lowering of the present standard of leadership in the House by a triumph of mediocrity over excellence in the leadership recruitment process will speak of a relapse and an inexcusable let down for the country and the House.
“Femi did not by accident became the Speaker of the House; his experience as a lawmaker who had served consecutively in four different assemblies as well as his loyalty to his party and benefactor, earned him the position.
“Therefore, among the criteria that should guide the House members in the choice they make is their scorecard; their contributions to the success of the party during the last election and public perception of those who have shown interest to lead.
“This is very critical, especially in a time like this in the history of the country when the incoming government will be confronted with so much challenges to fulfill its campaign promises and would therefore require not just men of impeccable character but also the best heads to salvage the country from the storm ahead.”
He pointed out that while it is excusable that some of the aspirants are in gross deficit of public visibility, it is gravely depressing that some of them ooze negativity and are vastly diminished by all manners of negative publicity they have incurred in the past.
“While the issue of loyalty stare Benjamin on the face, like the sword of Damascus his alleged complicity in marital issues hangs on his head.
“The Hallowed Chamber of the House should not be reduced to a Customary Court where a Speaker would be accused of snatching married women from poor spouses.
“Further as part of sieving the wheat from the chaff, every speaker hopeful whose reputation has been tarnished by scandals should be given no more than a passing glance by his colleagues.
According to him, the position of a Speaker of the House of Representatives is not for experiment and must not and should not be slaughtered on the alter of ethnic sentiment to pave way for mediocre who have barely served out their first term in the house.
“We have watched with keen interest the number of actors contesting the position of the Speaker, especially in the South- East where many believe is likely going to be zoned to, the likes of Benjamin Kalu, the current spokesman of the House who bandies his aspiration with objectionable sense of entitlement and a host of others in the region who have also indicated interes.
“We are by this compelled to call on the ruling party to look beyond ethnic or religious coloration to go for the best in the best interest of the country.
“Kalu who hails from Abia State, represents Bende Federal Constituency where Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, his benefactor, hails from has not made the evaluation of his person and how much of a team-player he is in Abia State APC compelling; so also that of a builder is he in the local chapter of the party.
“We have also watched with consternation, the brazen manner with which saboteurs, who traded the interest of the APC and its presidential candidate with some treacherous groups who are against the sanctity of the Nigerian State trying to take over leadership of the incoming Assembly.
According to him,
In pursuance of balancing act and preservation of Nigeria’s sanctity, the coalition believe the leadership of the National Assembly should be zoned to the South- East, however, in doing so, equity, justice and fairness should be applied.
“It will amount to violation of divine injuqnction, if people are allowed to reap from where they did not sow.
“The Holy Bible and Qur’an enjoins that, if a man does not work, he should not eat or a man should not reap where he did not sow.
“Hon Benjamin Kalu did not sow in APC but rather, he’s an opportunist, who want to leverage on primordial sentiments to pass through the backdoor to the leadership of National Assembly.
Effort to reach Kalu did not yield any positive result as he failed to pick several calls made to his phone