Henry Omunu, Abuja
The Board of Initiatives, a group of old and serving members of the House of Representatives, on Wednesday, lent its voice to the controversy surrounding the emergence of the leadership of the 9th National Assembly, warning that lawmakers should be allowed to freely elect their principal officers.
Led by the Dean Faculty, Eseme Eyibo, the former spokesman and chairman House Committee on Public Affairs in the 6th House of Representatives, the group at a media briefing in Abuja, cautioned that the legislature should be allowed to choose its leaders unencumbered.
Eyibo flanked by Reps. Blessing Alapa, Chris Eta, Ibrahim Buba and Chukwuemeka Ujam, explained that in the current democratic system of government, where the rule of law prevails, it is the legislature as provided by Section 4 of the constitution that makes laws and as such, is the most critical arm of government in the tripod of governance.
He argued that if government or the three arms must stand on a tripod, then the legislature should be allowed to choose its leaders, stating that in critical contests such as the election of principal officers, stakeholders must begin a talent hunt to get the best, especially for the positions of Senate president and House speaker.
The former House member declared that history can vindicate past choice of presiding officers, specifically from the times of Ghali Nabba, Dimeji Bankole, Aminu Tambuwal and the incumbent, Yakubu Dogara where the independence of the legislature played an active role.
He cautioned that such precedence cannot be jettisoned or allowed not to be the norm, adding that “history from Nabba up to Dogara is very consistent,” pointing out that the general interest of a particular candidate and the independence of the legislature have often been uppermost in the heart of lawmakers in choosing their leaders.
The group added that whoever is interested in becoming speaker, or any leadership position in the National Assembly must be acceptable, capable of galvanizing the interest of members, saying that all political parties have equal stake in choosing the principal officers, instead of pandering to the whims and caprices of just one political party.