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Acting chair, Damagum tells PDP Reps-elect: Put APC on their toes for Nigeria


Acting chair, Damagum tells PDP Reps-elect: Put APC on their toes for Nigeria

Ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, the Acting National Chairman of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Umar Damagum has charged the party’s members-elect to put the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on their toes.

Damagum also enjoined the members to be firm in lawmaking.

Speaking at a meeting members-elect to formally welcome and congratulate them on their electoral victory in Abuja on Tuesday, the national chairman said that putting the ruling party on their toes was one of the ways of making them work for the country.

He said “You have a daunting task before you because of the state of the nation. You have been elected at a time when the country is no longer what we used to know. It has been bedeviled by so many vices and people are looking up to you to correct the rot.

“When you make laws, it is expected that you are helping the society and in act of making laws you should be mindful of the fact that the society is no longer what you use to know and you have to be firm. You have to be loyal to your country first and then the party. Loyalty to the country because it is only when you have a country that you can even exist as a lawmaker.

“Most of you that have spoken have been grateful to the party for giving you the platform to here today. We don’t expect anything else from you rather than to be a loyal party member. Most of you will be concerned about the current situation of the party, it is always like that. When you have an election year there will be a lot of crisis. If you look at from your primaries up to the time when you were elected, you have gone through a lot and I know the party is going through the same kind of situations. But one thing I want to assure you is that PDP has the mechanism to solve its own problems.

“The initiative you have taken upon yourself before we even call upon you to make this gathering possible is also one of reasons why I said we have the mechanism. You have done well, I have interacted with some of your leaders towards being up this gathering and I don’t expect any PDP member to be less in terms of that acumen and capacity, we have always been known to be full of capacity in terms of what we want to achieve. I don’t expect less from you. I want to reiterate like some of you have said here that this 10th Assembly should come and make sure that it gives the right opposition that is expected of you.

“I always have hope in the House of Representatives, I am not saying the Senate are not doing much but you are the people that are directly closer to the constituencies and much is expected of you and I hope that ours is going to be a joint credible opposition and we give it to them; we put them to task, we put them on their toes to make sure that the right thing is being done in this country because this is what need at this moment”.

Earlier, the convener of the meeting, Hon. Frederick Agbedi in his opening remarks said that the meeting was to seek a direction from the party on how to proceed in the incoming 10th assembly.

He said that the PDP had the numerical strength of 116 to achieve its objectives in the parliament.

“We came to interact with you to give us a direction as we journey on towards 13 June. Guide us, direct us where necessary”, he said.

Also speaking, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji from Enugu State said that the PDP was ready to use “Our number to get strength in the House.”

Others who spoke thanked the party for making the platform available for them to contest the election.

In related development, a group of the members-elect across the 8 political parties that won various seats in the national assembly under the aegis of “Joint Tast-10th Assembly” has said it will abide by the zoning formula of APC.

Chairman of the forum, Hon. Usman Kumo made the pledge at the inauguration of the forum in Abuja on Tuesday.

He however said that the forum had no preferred candidate for the office of the speaker of the 10th House but to ensure that the expectations of Nigerians were met.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it gladdens my heart to stand before you here today on the occasion of the inauguration of the ‘Joint Task – 10th Assembly.’ The issue at stake is the leadership of the incoming 10th House of Representatives.

“As you can see from our banner, the name of this coalition is ‘Joint Task – 10th Assembly.’ We are a multi-partisan forum of the eight political parties that have won seats for the 10th House of Representatives. Although our logo displays the names of the political parties that make up this forum, it is pertinent to list them individually. The political parties are, the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP), the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the Young Progressive Party (YPP).

“Ladies and gentlemen, the ‘Joint Task – 10th Assembly’ seeks to, among others, promote: Independence of the legislature; inter-dependence of the legislature and Executive; legislation for good governance and grassroots impact; constituency outreach, equity and fairness among Ranking and New members; ensure unity, equity and fairness in the emergence of presiding and principal officers in line with best parliamentary practice.

“Our driving force is ‘Nigeria’s Unity and the Stability of the 10th House of Representatives.’

“In ensuring the above, we have resolved to go by the decision of the majority party, which is the APC, in deciding which zones produce the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker. We believe that the APC would do the right thing, and once the zoning is done, we would decide on the next line of action. We would be guided by capacity, competence, experience and other leadership qualities.

“However, as of today, ladies and gentlemen, we do not have any preferred aspirant for the office of Speaker and Deputy Speaker. But we note that a number of our colleagues, all of whom are eminently qualified, have declared their interest in the seat of Speaker.

“Our message to Nigerians at this point is that we are ready to work for the betterment of our country and the citizens. To achieve that, we have to work harmoniously with the Executive Arm, without compromising our independence.

“Let me emphasize in conclusion that our concern is ‘Nigeria’s Unity and the Stability of the 10th House of Representatives”, Kumo said.

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