Over 100 civil society groups have asked the Progressives Governors Forum and other lobby groups to back popular candidates who are accepted by the members-elect to emerge as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The groups, under the aegis of the National Democratic Coalition, said that Nigeria’s democracy is evolving and any contrary move will truncate it.
In a statement signed by Dr. Ben Amodu, the CSOs said Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu emerged as President-elect because he was the popular choice of the masses across ethnic and religious lines, hence other prominent candidates should also be supported to emerge at other levels.
Quoting from Chapter 5, Part 2 Section 92 of the Constitution, Amodu said the Speaker and Deputy Speaker are elected by members of the House among themselves.
According to him, the requisite condition to become Speaker is acceptability among members of the House of Representatives.
Amodu said for any candidate to be wholly accepted across party lines, it means he/ she is exceptional with good moral standards devoid of bias and sentiments.
He further said that Hon Aliyu Muktar Betara is among the few candidates who are well-accepted for the position of Speaker.
Amodu noted that his popularity is based on his competence, track record, and knack for excellence.
“We have it on good authority that some governors are interested in the position of Speaker. They are bent on foisting their cronies on the House of Representatives,” he said.
“While we acknowledge that this is typical of Nigerian politics, it is time to put an end to it. The Constitution already stipulates how the Speaker should emerge and we strongly advise that this should be followed to the latter.
“Let’s give all interested persons a level playing field. Let them test their popularity on the floor of the House. Anybody who wins will be seen as the best choice for the nation.
“Indeed, some candidates are already making waves. One of them is Hon Aliyu Betara representing Biu/Bayo/Shani and Kwaya Kusar Federal Constituency. Aside from being a five-term legislator, Betara is considered a powerful politician with strong persuasive ability.
“While his rivals are busy hauling from one governor to the other, he is seriously consulting with his colleagues. Over the years, he has built wide networks that are already evident in his mini-campaign.
“How you will know a good leader is his ability to build a friendship at the slightest instance. Betara is loved across the country. He is at peace with old members while the new ones look up to him.
“But what sets him apart is his track record, integrity and capacity. It is not enough to be a unifier, can you do the job? Betara indeed ticks all the boxes and it will be a huge mistake if the governors don’t support him.”