The Forum of All Progressives Congress newly-elected members of the House of Representatives have expressed support for the consensus candidate of the party for the 9th National Assembly Speakership, Femi Gbajabiamila.
In a statement by the forum on Thursday in Abuja signed by its Chairman, Mr Tunji Ojo and its Director General, Dunkwu Nnamdi, the group said it would be difficult for the-newly elected representatives to go against the wishes of the party and President Muhammadu Buhari with regard to the leadership of the incoming 9th Assembly.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that President Buhari and the APC national leadership on Tuesday endorsed Femi Gbajabiamila, Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, as the party`s choice for the 9th Assembly Speaker.
The decision, however, did not go down well with some APC House of Representatives members, especially those from the North-Central who were of the view that the position should be zoned to the sub-region.
According to them, the zone is more qualified to produce the Speaker of the 9th Assembly because it ranked third after North-East in the number of votes it turned out for the APC during the last presidential election.
The forum, however, noted that the APC had zoned the President to the North, the Vice President to the South, Senate President to the North-East and the Speaker to the South.
It argued that those from the North-Central agitating for the Speakership of the 9th National Assembly were insincere, saying that the North could not produce the President of the Senate and Speaker House of Representatives at the same time.
It said it expected APC elected representatives to respect the position of the party on the zoning of the speakership and to see the party`s decision on the issue as supreme.
It stated: “Every member of the party is a product of the party; the party gave us the platform to contest and also gave assistance to members before, during and after elections.
“Now that the president and the party`s leadership have spoken, we expect every party faithful to toe that line and support Gbajabiamila to emerge as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“We believe he has more experience than other people that are contesting for the position, it is not just enough for you to bring out posters, Gbajabiamila is eminently qualified than any other person.”
It also said that Gbajabiamila would be able to articulate policies that would benefit all Nigerians as well as compliment the next level agenda of the APC-led Federal Government.
The statement said the forum was made up of 164 newly-elected APC representatives and some members from other political parties who formally belonged to the APC.
It said such members were those who could not get ticket from the APC and had to go to other parties to get a platform to contest.
The forum said that such members were with it in the struggle to ensure that Gbajabiamila emerged as the Speaker of House of Representatives as decided by the APC leadership.
It stressed that the election of Gbajabiamila would prevent what happened in the 8th Assembly where government policies were frustrated.
It said: “We want to ensure that what happened in the 8th Assembly does not repeat itself, where party loyalty was thrown to the dustbin as people fought for their individual pockets.
“We are in this 9th Assembly to fight for the interest of Nigerians. Nigerians are suffering.”