Iriase Steps Down For Gbajabiamila As Next Reps Speaker
PRESS CONFERENCE BY HON PALLY IRIASE ON THE CONTEST FOR SPEAKER OF HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
You will recall that on the 4th of May 2015, I informed you of my decision to contest for the Speakership of the 8th Assembly. Since then, I and my supporters have run a decent and cost effective campaign while waiting for my Party’s direction on the matter. The Party has not zoned the position of Speaker as of today.
However the ongoing campaigns have thrown up some dangerous tendencies which could breed acrimony and disturb the 8th Assembly from delivering to the satisfaction of Nigerians who have very high expectations from the incoming government. Nigerians are suffering from excruciating poverty, scandalous rate of unemployment, mindless corruption, comatose economy, scary insecurity, persistent fuel scarcity, frustrating infrastructure deficit and gross inadequacy of power supply. It seems to me therefore, that this Nation is not in the mood for any acrimonious contest that will negatively impact the performance of the National Assembly and by extension the entire incoming Government. Indeed, the Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, in his agenda-setting address at the just concluded two-day retreat for APC Members-elect of the House of Representatives, admonished us about our obligations in the following words. “More than the legislative majority, is the abundant goodwill of our teeming population who are ready for change and will support us if they can discern that we are working for their interest… Bold decisions will need to be taken, and this can only be possible if there is a synergy among our party, the National Assembly and the President. We know you will not fail us, and you will not fail Nigerians. History beckons, and you must stand up to be numbered amongst those who made the sacrifice and put in the hard work in the battle to rescue Nigeria.”
In the circumstances, with a deep sense of responsibility and sacrificial self denial, I have decided, notwithstanding my robust qualifications, to quit the race for Speaker and fully support Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, the current Minority Leader, for the job. In taking this decision I have consulted widely and I am confident that my teeming supporters will join me, to achieve a seamless inauguration, emergence of our preferred candidate and a smooth bi-partisan relationship in the House of Representatives.
It is important to explain that the three front runners for the post before now have been Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, Hon Yakubu Dogara and my humble self. The question may be asked – why did I not team up with Hon Yakubu Dogara? The reason is that a Dogara Speakership under the current reality will be insensitive, repugnant to equity and good conscience and will not be feasible, as it flies in the face of all precedents and the principle of Federal Character. Just imagine what the perception of Nigerians would be, of APC as a party and the incoming government, if the President and Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria, the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Chief Justice of the Federation and also Speaker of the House of Representatives(say,Yakubu Dogara), all come from the Northern zone of Nigeria!
The other reasons are that Femi Gbajabiamila is detribalised, urbane, cerebral and independent minded. He has been with us in the trenches for opposition politics, armed with the stoic vision of a better Nigeria.
Finally, I urge all members-elect of the 8th Assembly to think Nigeria first in these trying times and join forces to disappoint doomsday prophets, by building an enduring consensus behind Femi Gbajabiamila and whoever we may chose to be his deputy. This will surely help to improve on the gains of the 7th Assembly and deepen the integrity of the House of Representatives of Nigeria.
HON PALLY IRIASE
MEMBER REPRESENTING OWAN FEDERAL CONSTITUENCY OF EDO STATE.