One of the top contenders for the position of speakership of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Umar Mohammed Bago, has said he would not hesitate to withdraw from the race if the position is eventually zoned to the South East.
The third-time representative from Chanchanga federal constituency of Niger State, alluded that the South East and the North Central were the greatest casualties of the zoning formula of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
The party had taken a decision to zone the speakership of the 9th Assembly to South West.
The decision did not go down well with stakeholders from North Central, who feel greatly marginalized in the new arrangement.
Aside lawmakers showing great interests from the North Central, Rt. Hon. Nkiruka Onyejiocha (Abia) has also indicated interest from the South East, thereby, neutralizing the APC arrangement.
Addressing newsmen Thursday in Abuja, Bago said the North Central geopolitical zone brought the third largest votes to make APC government in 2019, more than the zone that has produced the Vice President, saying, the zone deserves to produce the next speaker.
“If the party has come out to say we are zoning speakership to the South East, honestly I will have just gone to contest for deputy speaker if I want to,” he said.
Speaking on the zoning of offices in the incoming National Assembly by the APC, Bago said the APC was not guided by individual thought but by constitution.
“But as a zone, the North Central is saying in whatever ramification we deserve to be considered because we brought the third highest vote to make APC a government.
“We have even produced more than the zone that has produced a vice president and look at the logic if you have taken senate presidency from North Central and speakership from North East who had it in the 8th Assembly, under normal circumstances you should be considering North Central.
“My position is still the same and let me reiterate that in the spirit of unity we introduced federal character into the constitution of this country and the constitution is very clear that all offices and all other national issues must be shared across six political zones and even without federal character I think it just make sense for people to think that integral part of this union are responsible for this country called Nigeria, therefore every other person must have a sense of belonging.
“We have a president from the North West, so looking at the six geopolitical offices, the northwest has been settled, and you have a vice president from the south-west that means they are also settled. And you have the party zoning senate presidency to the northeast and deputy Senate President to the south-south that means they are settled”, he added.
The ranking lawmaker said the North Central had put so much on the table and cannot afford be overran.
He opined that, “if the party in its conscience and the leaders are going to wake up to the reality and they want to zone it to the south-east, honestly we will support them”.
Bago said he would continue to rally his colleagues at the lower chamber and those newly elected, to ensure justice and equity prevail.
He added that, the provision of constitution of Nigeria as related to principle of federal character must be strictly adhered to, so all geopolitical zones of the country is adequately represented in the scheme of things.DP