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Return current NASS members in 2027, Speaker appeals to APC

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, on Sunday, urged the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to ensure that the current members of the National Assembly (NASS) and state legislators retain their position in 2027.

Abbas argued that lawmaking needs experience, hence, the need to ensure continuity.

He called on the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi  Ganduje, to use his office to address the high turnover rate at the National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly.

According to a statement on Sunday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Musa Krishi, Abbas said this in Kaduna at the North-West APC stakeholders’ forum

He said, “On the issue of the high turnover of members of the National Assembly, this is a golden opportunity under your (Ganduje’s) tenure to ensure that you do everything humanly possible for current (APC) members of the National Assembly and states Houses of Assembly to return in 2027.

“Some people may say there are others waiting. But I need to emphatically mention that the National Assembly is an institution where the older you are in the system, the better you become.

“Today, the North-West, based on the 2023 elections, is worse off. That is the reason, perhaps, we did not get the kind of prominence we should have got. So, let’s ensure that only the best of us get reelected.  We should give the competent ones the opportunity to return to the National Assembly”.

The National Assembly Speaker also advised Ganduje to constitute reconciliation committees that would unite the members of the party nationwide.

He said after last year’s general elections, the APC must now unite all members and focus on governance.

Abbas said, “I want to call on the National Chairman and our party executive to ensure peaceful coexistence among all party members. As previous speakers have said, we are bedevilled by many issues in different states, and in every local government.

“It is time to draw a line. Elections are over; this is the time for governance. We should forget what has happened; let’s forgive one another; let’s embrace one another.

“I want to suggest to the National Chairman, and by extension, the National Vice Chairman, to, as a matter of urgency, constitute reconciliation committees for the zone and for every state to constitute the same reconciliation committees so that we can make peace and bring those that we may have offended back to the party”.

Abbas commended President Bola Tinubu for giving some key positions to the North-West, saying the zone should appreciate him by redoubling its efforts in 2027.

“We thank Mr. President for finding the North-West worthy of many important positions. This is the first time that we have the Speaker, the Deputy President of the Senate, and the National Chairman of our party emerging from the zone.

“To whom much is given, much is expected. It is our turn to appreciate Mr. President, to appreciate our party by ensuring that we do everything humanly possible to bring the dividends of democracy to our people; to ensure that the insecurity that has bedevilled our zone is brought to its logical conclusion; to also ensure that in 2027, we redouble our efforts for the APC to do better in every ward, every local government, every state and the country as a whole”.

He called on party leaders at different levels to support the party structures, saying, “What I observed is that attention is given to the party when elections are near. After elections, nothing moves, nothing happens.

“I want to implore us, the leaders, to support our party not only during elections but at all times. That’s the only way we can guarantee success for our party.

“On our part at the National Assembly, we’ll sit with the leadership of the party in the North-West to come up with some measures of support. I’ve already briefed the National Chairman during our last meeting that we would reach out to every member to ensure that every month, something is sent to the party to support it. We expect that all members of state caucuses will replicate the same”.

On the ongoing constitution amendment by the National Assembly, Speaker Abbas said, “This is an opportunity for us in the North-West to sit down and bring up the areas that we can do better as a country.

“We want to see if we can replicate what we did in the 8th Assembly by empowering all our senators and honourable members to go back to their constituencies on an appointed date to interact with the people, giving them the areas of priority so that by the time we come back, every member will vote based on the mandate given by his people”.

He said some of the critical areas that the National Assembly identified in the constitution review were state police, local government autonomy, women’s inclusion in politics and governance, and the role of traditional institutions.

In his remarks, the APC National Vice Chairman North-West zone, Alhaji Garba Muhammad, expressed concern about the gale of suspensions in the party.

He said, “A fundamental issue that must be addressed is the spate of suspensions that has become a trend whereby the party, particularly at ward level, purportedly suspends prominent party members. The latest example is Zamfara State.

“We are aware that the problems in Kano and Zamfara states are being instigated by individuals impersonating as members of our party but who are actually the moles working for the opposition parties?

“Let me make it clear that under our amended constitution, no organ of the party at any level has the power to suspend members of the party from the party until due process has been complied with at all levels after which the National Working Committee has the final say.

“In other words, no member of our party can be suspended without recourse to the NWC. To state it in clear terms, such suspensions are unconstitutional, null and void and the status quo ante remains!”

Kaduna State Governor, Senator Uba Sani harped on the need to promote internal democracy within the ambit of the constitution of the party, arguing that this way, “friction will be lessened and litigation would be reduced”.

He said, “What happens in our zone is of primary interest to other zones and Nigeria. It is for these reasons that we must at all times take a critical look at the health of the APC in the North-West zone, with a view to addressing challenges and repositioning it for future electoral battles.

“There is no human organisation or institution that does not face challenges. What matters is our willingness to recognise our challenges and take measures to address them.

“If we are all committed to the goals and objectives of our party, we would be prepared to subjugate our personal interests to the interest of the collective.

“I urge us to always adopt the consensus approach to the resolution of pressing issues. It is a win-win approach that helps in building and sustaining peace and unity”.

Katsina State Governor and Chairman of the North-West Governor’s Forum, Dikko Umaru Radda, commended National Assembly lawmakers from the zone for their input towards the creation of the North-West Development Commission while also praising the efforts of President Tinubu in channelling infrastructure development to the zone.

The meeting had in attendance, the APC National Chairman, Ganduje,  ex-Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, Jigawa State Governor, Malam Umar Namadi, Sokoto State Governor, Ahmad Sokoto, Kebbi State Governor, Dr Nasir Idris,  Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin.

Others were Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar; Minister of Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu; Minister of Environment, Mallam Balarabe Abbas; Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy, Hajiya Hannatu Musawa; Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa; Minister of State for Defence, Dr.  Bello Matawalle; Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Minister of State for FCT, Dr. Mariya Mahmoud; and Special Adviser on Policy Coordination to President, Hajiya Hadiza Usman, among others.

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