9th NASS: PDP leaders, others may back Lawan, Gbajabiamila

9th NASS: PDP leaders, others may back Lawan, Gbajabiamila

- There may be truce between the APC and the PDP as the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly draws nearer

- Both parties are said to be committed in ensuring a rancour free election of principal officers of the 9th National Assembly

- Involved in the initiative are serving and newly elected governors, returning and outgoing senators as well as other chieftains of both parties

A report by The Nation indicates that some leaders of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are reaching out to newly elected or re-elected federal legislators from the party and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to ensure a rancour free election of principal officers of the 9th National Assembly.

According to the report, the concerned PDP leaders are keen on persuading their fellow party members to shelve any idea of opposing the preferred choices of the majority APC during the election of Senate president and Speaker of House of Representatives.

Sources quoted in the report say, involved in the initiative are serving and newly elected governors, returning and outgoing senators as well as other chieftains of the opposition party.

“To many of them, it is time for the PDP to drop the toga of a party that is seen as disrupting governance through unnecessary opposition to the executive,” one of the sources said.

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Another unnamed source quoted in the report said: “I can tell you that the current leadership of the National Assembly as well as the national leadership of the PDP, have at various times, played host to prominent Nigerians, traditional rulers and elder statesmen, as well as retired military top brass to talk on the need for a peaceful inauguration of the next assembly.”

The decision of some PDP members-elect to openly endorse the candidacy of Femi Gabjabiamila as their preferred choice for the Speakership last week was a fall out of the efforts of the party leaders involved in the call for the party to play a more matured brand of opposition in the next dispensation.

Some of the PDP legislators who endorsed Gbajabiamila, it was learnt did so with the support of their political godfathers.

Continuing, the source said: “Currently, PDP leaders across the country are divided over how the party should approach the forthcoming dispensation. While we still have those who want our federal legislators to keep the APC government on its toes through very critical engagement in the chambers, there are now those who think otherwise, and the camp of the latter group is growing by the day.

“Their argument is that if the party is to return to its winning ways and be taken serious by Nigerians, it must not be seen as a party which delights in stalling governance.

“Many of them feel it is undemocratic for the PDP to seek to prevent the majority party from forming the leadership of the National Assembly through very unconventional methods like infiltrating the ranks of the ruling party and encouraging its members to disobey its directives.

“That way, we are also encouraging disloyal acts within our own party. So, those in this school of thought are talking to party leaders and federal legislators on the need for us to change our approach as a party, and I think their efforts are yielding fruits.

“I need not tell you about PDP lawmakers-elect who endorsed APC’s Gbajabiamila during the week. You can see that many of them are well known loyalists of prominent PDP leaders including serving and former governors as well as national leaders and Board of Trustee members.

“That is enough to tell you that the PDP is now open to truce. It is left to the ruling party to take the fullest advantage of the trend and do more to accommodate our members-elect in the scheme of thing as the 9th assembly opens.

“It is not a new or strange thing. Governments of national unity are formed all over the world. What should be important is the need for a better executive-legislature relationship nest time,” the source, a serving senator said.

There are also efforts for a possible open endorsement of Senator Ahmed Lawan by some PDP senators-elect in the coming weeks.

“Nobody is desirous of a rubber stamp Senate but we all must own up that the nation lost more than it gained from the many face-offs we witnessed in this current dispensation,” the source argued.

“The laid out plan of those involved is to ensure that PDP members-elect do not stage any plot that will backfire and create fresh acrimony in the National Assembly after the inauguration.

“They have been talking to all the stakeholders and I am sure they are supporting the APC choices for the positions. That is the more I can tell you,” another source said.

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Meanwhile, Gbajiabiamila, on Thursday, May 2 stepped up his campaign for the office of the Speaker.

The Lagos lawmaker gathered members-elect from across the political divides in Abuja to sell his manifestoes to them and unveil his game plan for the forthcoming election for the principal officers of the National Assembly slated for next month.

Gbajiabiamila also lavished the lawmakers-elect with gift items which included smart phones.

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