Adams Oshiomhole, the All Progressives Congress National Chairman, says President Muhammadu Buhari can only deliver on his campaign promises with necessary legislative policies and backing.
Oshiomhole stated this on Monday in Abuja at a meeting with the party’s national leadership and its newly-elected and returning House of Representative members, stressing that in unity, they could achieve much more.
He thanked God and Nigerians for electing the representatives, adding that the meeting was to acquaint the first timers in particular, with the antics of the opposition.
He stressed that the 164 newly-elected representatives had a huge responsibility ahead of them, and could not afford to disappoint Nigerians who elected them.
The APC national chairman expressed optimism that the representatives though may be new, had the sophistication, knowledge and commitment required to excel in the house.
He said: “You have been elected at a very challenging time to provide legislative backing for APC agenda and manifestos.
“We must admit that there is still a lot to be done to make Nigeria safer in terms of security, investors don’t go to war front, even the poor value their security, people want to feel safe and secure.
“Whatever additional legislative measure to back the executive commitment in the area of security, we believe that as people who share this commitment, you will provide this support.
“There is a lot to be done to take Nigeria to the next level and to give everyone a sense of pride and dignity and to ensure that we have a country whose citizens are respected by state institutions wherever they are.”
He said to move Nigeria to the next level of economic and infrastructure development, the APC would not leave the leadership of the National Assembly and key committee chairmanship positions in the hands of the opposition.
He said the APC would not share power in the House of Representatives with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.
He added that with 222 elected members of the House of Representatives, critical committees that drive government must be chaired by APC members, except the Public Account Committee that was statutorily reserved for the opposition.
He said: “If Nigerians wanted the opposition to chair committees, they would have voted for them.”
He also said that the APC-led Federal Government could not afford to have the kind of executive and legislative crisis it had in the 8th Assembly.
He said that in the 8th Assembly, some APC members became “distant spectators“ in the management of committees, while PDP members had strategic positions in the management of committees in the house.
This, the APC national chairman stressed would not happen in the 9th Assembly.
He said: “I will expect that you all bear in mind that we are one family bounded together as shown in the broom symbol of our party, with a shared commitment to bail Nigeria out of the condition we found it in 2015.
“You have the numbers, and we will use those numbers to ensure that we have a leadership that commands the thrust and the respect of members of the House of Representatives.
“There will be contestation, that is why we are in a democracy, but after the contestation and debate, there has to be agreement, and once we have agreed, we move forward.
“We have the numbers to produce the Speaker, and we will produce the speaker, who must be a member of the APC.
“We have the number and we will use it to produce the Deputy speaker, House Leader, Chief Whip and Deputy Whip, who must all be members of the APC.
“The only position we are not interested in, is that of the Minority Leader, let it remain in the hands of the minors and in the opposition.”
He added that the APC was, however, aware that the opposition PDP was already sponsoring some of its members to contest key committee positions, with a view to getting some chairmanship seats in return.
He advised the elected representative not to do business with PDP members, but to see them as partners in progress.
He said: “The PDP and other minorities can have their say, but working together, APC must have its way in the legislative agenda and in the leadership of the National Assembly and the leadership of its committees.
“Please don’t allow anybody to divide you, we will carry out extensive consultations with President Muhammadu Buhari and all the leaders of our party.”
He added that the consultations would reflect the reality of the nation’a politics as reflected in the Constitution which recognises the country`s geo-political zones.
Oshiomhole said the party`s leadership would work out a “sensible zoning formula that would carry everybody along and give them chances to demonstrate their capacities and capabilities.
This, he said, was critical to ensure that the party had a leadership without rancour.