10th Assembly Speaker: Gagdi, Betara step down, endorse Abass

House of Reps

Ahead of the inauguration on Tuesday, two major speakership aspirants, Aliyu Betara and Yusuf Gagdi, have stepped down for the preferred candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tajudeen Abbas for the position of speaker of the House of Representatives.

Betara was billed to announce his withdrawal from the speakership race anytime soon before the Tuesday, June 13 inauguration of the 10th National Assembly.

In a statement on Sunday, Tajudeen Abbas/Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu Joint Task Campaign Office stated that the aspirant alongside others have formally stepped down for Abbas, thereby dismantling the Group 7 (G7) aspirants who were initially opposed to his candidacy.

The campaign office also dismissed the speculations that the Abbas candidacy was not known to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

With the withdrawal, Abbas and the deputy speaker nominee, Hon. Benjamin Kalu have conquered most of the hurdles in their path to victory.

Apparently, the only person still existing in the aggrieved group of 7 opposed to the candidacy of Abass is now the immediate past deputy speaker, Hon. Idris Wase who has repeatedly said he will contest against the rule of play.

The statement: “It has come to the attention of the Joint Task – 10th Assembly that some aspirants for the Speakership of the 10th House of Representatives claimed that the President/Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu, never mentioned the name of Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas as his preferred candidate for Speaker, but that the President only said he aligned with the position of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee (NWC) on zoning arrangement.

“It is pertinent to mention that the so-called G7 no longer exists as key members of the forum such as Rt. Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, Rt. Hon. Muktar Aliyu Betara, Rt. Hon. Yusuf Adamu Gagdi, Rt. Hon. Makki Yalleman and Rt. Hon. Raheem Tunji Olawuyi, among others have since dropped their speakership ambitions and declared support for the Abbas/Kalu ticket. It is worthy to note that Betara and Gagdi announced that they stepped down for Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas today, Sunday June 11, 2023 after a meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima.

“As of Sunday June 11, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas (PhD) has secured the endorsement of the overwhelming majority of members-elect across the eight political parties in the six geopolitical zones, and he is ready to compete on the floor of the House and take the mantle of leadership of the 10th House come Tuesday, June 13, 2023.

“For the record, the APC NWC announced on Monday, May 8, 2023 that it consulted with the President before reaching that resolution. Below is the excerpts of the APC NWC’s announcement:

“The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) met today, Monday, May 8, 2023 to consider reports of consultations and meetings held with the President-Elect, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, other party leaders, and stakeholders on zoning arrangement for 10th National Assembly leadership positions.

“The zoning arrangement reported to the NWC is as follows:

“Senate: Senate President – South South – Senator Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom). Deputy Senate President – North West – Senator Barau Jibrin (Kano).

“House of Representatives-Speaker, House of Representatives – North West – Hon. Abass Tajudeen [Kaduna]

Deputy Speaker – South East – Hon. Ben Kalu (Abia).
“Therefore, it is preposterous to claim that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was not aware of the adoption of Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas as Speaker. We urge the public, especially the media, to disregard such claims.”