By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – As the horse trading for the Speakership position of the Green Chamber intensifies as the d-day fast approaches, different permutations, alignment and realignment are on which includes but not limited to party interest, regional and personal interest among others? Above all these considerations, the interest for a quality representation of the general populace is both paramount and sacrosanct.
Against these backdrops, Sundiata Post took a tour to the constituency office of one of the Speakership contestants, Rt. Hon. Dr. John Dyegh (alias Speaker for Justice & Fairplay), representing Gboko/Tarka Federal Constituency of Benue State at the Federal House of Representative.
During the media chat with Rt. Hon. Dr. Dyegh, he made it clear that what drew his interest into the contest were the many questions 2019 threw up. One of the questions he pointed out was;”Why is there so much concentration and interest about South-West over and above other regions?” He went on to say that South-West have Deputy Speaker position, they have the House Leader position, and they also have the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. According to him, yet again the ‘Speakership position’ for the incoming 9th Assembly has been zoned and micro-zoned to same South-West. And this raises a question that need to be properly addressed, he said.
While wondering the wisdom behind the decision of his Party (APC), he faulted the zoning process that took away the Senate President position from the North-Central to the North-East, and Speaker which is in the Northeast to the Southwest, instead of bringing it back to the North-Central where the Senate position was taken away from. Better put in his own words; “I look at that as a mistake, and we are trying to make the Party correct that mistake”.
Nigeria has six geo-political zones with a constitution that clearly states equal representation of the six zones in governance. North West has the President of the Nation, North East has been zoned for the Senate President, South West has also sadly been zoned for the Speakership position, leaving North Central empty. And this raises the question, Where is the North-Central in the APC government? Citing Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which states that;
“the composition of the government of the federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the ‘Federal Character of Nigeria’ and also to command ‘national loyalty’, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or in any of its agencies”.
The lawmaker reiterated the overwhelming contributions made by north central region in making APC-led federal government re-election a reality. He recounted that his Region after north west and north east, took the third position, over and above the south west that is being loaded with political offices. Stressing that, “it will be fair if the position of the Speaker is given to the north central, having taken away the seat of the Senate President to the north east”.
The frontline contender of the position of Speaker refuted the rumour making rounds that he’s planning to step down. He debunked the rumour when he categorically said; “I have not step down, I will not step down and I shall not step down. I have not seen any reason why I should ever step down for anybody outside north-central”. He vowed to stand his ground in one voice with his people in the north central who share same opinion that the party has made a mistake that should be corrected. “I insist, we in the north central, we insist, he reiterated.
Hon. Dyegh explained that his decision and that of his people from north central not to back out of the race is not borne out of disloyalty or disobedient to party decision, but that the party has made a mistake and it needs to be corrected”. He reiterated his full support and unchangeable loyalty for President Buhari, and by extension his party (APC). While asking that the Party take advantage of the fact that north central has entered the race for Speakership position and correct the mistake they made in zoning the post to Southwest. This he believes is what justice and fairplay entail, and would give the party a common front in securing the Speaker position against other parties.
He acknowledged the importance of each and every vote coming from the 360 members in choosing the Speaker of the House. Saying that “the 9th Assembly is one Body, irrespective of party affiliation”, hence the need to canvass for votes across party lines. He made bold to say that “it’s only a foolish man and a stupid man that will go into the race for a Speaker and will not talk to the opposition”.
The Speaker-to-be parades a 7-point evidence-based legislative agenda, where he calls his Honourable Colleagues to key into the House Project for harmony, justice and fairplay. Reminding that the Project is a Pan-Nigerian Project, not driven by selfish agenda.
He commended the achievements of the 8th Assembly, pointing out areas of their quick intervention in issues of utmost and urgent National importance.
RT. Hon. Dr. John Dyegh said he is”a thorough bred grass roots experienced politician and remains one of the richest in terms of legislative experience, having taken roots from the lowest ebb of the society” and is fully equipped intellectually to take the Federal House of Representatives smoothly to the next level on a platter of peace and harmony.