(News investigators) Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Wase, on Friday met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, vowing not to succumb to pressure to withdraw from the race for the Speaker of the 10th Assembly.
Leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had ceded the Speakership post to Tajudeen Abbas and have been trying to convince Wase and other frontline aspirants to withdraw for the Kaduna State and North West representative.
But after the meeting with Buhari in Aso Rock, Abuja, he told correspondents that he would see the race to the end.
He said: “I am in the race, and by the grace of God, I am going to conclude the race. I have not withdrawn or stepped down for anybody.”
Wase described the letter from the APC National Working Committee (NWC) spelling out the zoning formula for the National Assembly principal officers posts as merely advisory, pointing out that it also allows for continued discussions on the matter.
According to Wase, the advisory nature of the letter contradicts the Nigerian 1999 Constitution, Section 14(4) as amended.
He stated that Section 14(4) of the Nigerian Constitution states that the composition of the Government of the Federation, including its agencies, should reflect the federal character of Nigeria.
Wase posited that the purpose of this clause is to foster national cohesion, prevent people from certain states or ethnic groups from dominating, and to guarantee the nation’s allegiance and concord.
Highlighting the importance of diversity in leadership, Wase noted that Nigeria has six geopolitical zones and that the government currently comprises six presiding officers.
The Deputy Speaker argued that taking away the deputy speaker position from his North Central zone would not only go against the constitutional idea of federal character, but would also ignore the enormous support and votes his region has given to the government.
“I am not just speaking for myself,” he said, reflecting the shared sentiments among his fellow aspirants.
He added: “You can’t bring a deputy senate president, but you can give us the deputy speaker role.
“You cannot neglect us, even though we have given one of the best outcomes in terms of voting and support to the government.”