Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has cautioned political parties to resist the urge to sponsor or impose candidates for leadership positions in the two chambers of the National Assembly as history has shown that it is always a futile effort.
Speaking at the Orientation ceremony for Batch B of 9th Assembly members-elect and senators-elect in Abuja, he advised any political party with such an agenda to ensure that it carries all members along so that they can have a sense of belonging and defend their leaders if the need ever arises.
Dogara stated, “I am not here to dictate to the parties, parties have their manifesto, parties know how they conduct their businesses but one thing I have said, if you followed the business during this induction exercise is that it is always better to allow the leadership to emerge from the people. But where leadership has been forced upon the people, in the history of the National Assembly, we are all part of this history in Nigeria, it has never endured.
“Whoever a party is sponsoring or supporting, they should make sure that they have the backing of the legislators so that they accept it; so that they own the process and they own the leadership. That way, they will always come out to defend it but in a situation where it is forced, literarily, you know, driven down their throats, in most cases, even in the Senate, it doesn’t augur well.”
Giving a view on what qualities should be considered in choosing the next leadership of the House, he noted, among other things, be able to go about achieving their ambitions without rancour and to have the ability to steer the affairs of the House to surpass the unparalleled achievements the 8th Assembly has made in the legislative history of Nigeria.
The Speaker explained, “Those that have been elected, we are going to be here for four years to serve the people and leadership is always something that emerges for people. Some of us who have been on the field, we know how that is done and our advice is that we stay calm; even though I understand that a lot of people are going in for these positions of leadership in the National Assembly, but if we can do it with less rancour, at the end of the day, we are praying that we will have those leaders who will be able to sustain what we have done in the 8th Assembly and even surpass it.
“We do not want any leadership that will take us back, we have made a lot of mileage and we hope we are able to get the kind of leadership that will build on the achievements of this Assembly, which is unparalleled in our legislative history.
“So, I will advise members to look at members that have thrown themselves into the race to see who is it that will aggregate their aspirations better and be able to surpass the records of this Assembly.”