Honourable Abass Adigun (Agboworin), member representing Ibadan North-East/Ibadan South-East Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, has said that he doesn’t have any issue with the choice of the ruling party about the leadership of the 10th National Assembly.
The returning lawmaker added that Hon Tajudeen Abbas is more composed, capable and well experienced adding that he’s the best man for the job.
He spoke at the sideline during the recent inauguration of the Oyo State governor, Engineer ‘Seyi Makinde, for a second term of office in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.
Few weeks ago, the All Progressives Congress (APC) picked a consensus candidate for the position of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives. The same was also done for the Senate too. As a federal lawmaker in the opposition party, what is your take on the development?
Well, as stated in the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and as you know, the Speaker of the House of Representatives must come from the majority party. Although the lawmakers from the minority parties, if you add all of them together, are about183 while the lawmakers from the majority party are just 177 members, but all the opposition parties are not together as one.
We have members from the Labour Party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP) and other parties. However, we are just 116 members from the PDP in the House of Representatives.
So, the decision by the APC to choose Tajudeen Abbas and Ben Kalu as Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively, is the choice of the party. We in the minority cannot control or influence whoever they want to choose.
However, the only thing we can do, as the Minority, is for us to have a strong opposition and a strong Minority Leader. This is because, out of the 10 positions we have in the House, six are for the majority party, which is the APC, while the remaining four is for the minority.
So, I can just appeal to our members in the minority to let us have a strong Minority Leader and a strong Deputy Minority Leader as well as a strong Minority Whip and a strong Deputy Minority Whip. By this, we will be able to do justice for our country.
Are you comfortable with the arrangement?
In essence, whoever the APC chooses or where they choose to zone the post of Speaker and Deputy Speaker to is the affair of the party.
As for me personally, I did not have any problem with Tajudeen Abbas. This is because when you are looking for a lawmaker who can stand toe-to-toe with another Speaker from any part of the world, Tajudeen Abass is more composed, capable and well experienced.
Other candidates are also qualified, but since the last three and half years that I have known Tajudeen Abbas, he has been present and coming to the Chamber more than other candidate. This is except, of course, Honourable Wase who will always preside whenever the Speaker is not around.
Presiding over legislative business is not the only thing that we need. We also need quality leadership and somebody who has a good knowledge of the operations and rules of the House. So, for me, Tajudeen Abbas is okay.
The outgoing ninth National Assembly is seen as a rubber stamp Legislature, especially as the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, was allegedly pandering to the whims and caprices of former President Muhammadu Buhari. What should Nigerians expect from the coming 10th National Assembly?
I will not agree with you that the ninth National Assembly is a rubber stamp assembly. Anywhere in the world where the ruling party is the one controlling the presidency and the leadership of the legislature, whatever they bring from the Presidency are always approved.
That is why I insisted that we, in the minority parties, need strong and well-experienced people that can be able to fight for the people.
Before the inauguration of the ninth Assembly, the PDP picked a strong candidate to be the Minority Leader. But the Speaker then choose one of his allies in the PDP as the Minority Leader, just for him to have his ways. That is why some people described the ninth National Assembly as a mere rubber stamp Legislature.
Assuming the person nominated by our party was allowed to function as the Minority Leader, we will get better results in terms of quality representations and deliberations in the House.
There is limit to what we in the opposition can do. If you go against any House Rule because you want to lend your voice to a debate or something on the floor and the Speaker refuses to call, you may be suspended for six month. And if you are not in the House for six month, how will you make money and bring succour to your people at home?
Did you go there to make money?
No! That is not what I mean. I am not saying we are going to the National Assembly to make money. I do take care of my people from my salary and allowances. If for six month, I didn’t bring anything, they will ask me: ‘Did we send you there to go and break rules or bring something for us at home?’ So, we have to comply and play along or keep silent.
What should the people of Ibadan North East/Ibadan South-East Federal Constituency be expecting from you in second term?
Well all I can say is that, we thank God. Out of all the federal representatives in Oyo State today, I receive the blessing of God and I am hoping to enjoy such privilege again so that I can bring more dividends of democracy to my constituents.
I brought the largest Airforce Base to Ibadan, Oyo State. I am hoping to bring another thing again in the coming dispensation.
For my constituents, a lot of people benefited from our various empowerment schemes. Those who are yet to benefit should wait for their turn. I will ensure that I attract more dividends of democracy from the National Assembly and I will make sure that these reach everyone in my constituency.
What are your expectations in respect of the Omititun 2.0 agenda of the Oyo State governor, Engineer ‘Seyi Makinde?
What more can I expect than the continuation of Omititun 1.0? The Omititun 1.0 included infrastructural development, road network, good education, training of our youths, creating more employment opportunity for the youths, moving the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state from Number 26 to Number 4 in the country.
If not because Oyo State is not an oil-producing state, I would have say the state should go to Number One. For our governor, Engineer ‘Seyi Makinde, to have, in the last two years, increased our IGR from Number 26 to Number 4, I think he has done well.
So, the continuation of his landmark achievements in Omititun 1.0 is what we are expecting in Omititun 2.0. These he has promised and I am optimistic that he will deliver on them.