10th NASS Leadership Tussle: Wike, Ibori, Osoba Side With Wase For Speaker

Governor Wike (right) and Hon. Wase...during the visit
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The plot by the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to mobilise their number and other minority parties for relevance ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, especially in the House of Representatives, may have suffered a major setback.

Reason: Two leading figures in the PDP – the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike and former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, on Monday 3 April, 2023 threw their weights behind the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Ahmed Idris Wase, to be the Speaker of the next House of Representatives to be proclaimed and inaugurated in June. 

 Also, a former Governor of Ogun State, chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and elder statesman, Chief Olusegun Osoba, has backed Wase’s bid for the Speakership, describing the deputy Speaker as “ my beloved son” whose zone – the  North Central – deserved the position of Speaker. 

The trio gave their support to Wase as he embarked on a three-leg trip from Abuja to Lagos, Port Harcourt, Rivers State and back to Abuja on Monday

These developments came on the heels of alliance talks between the PDP House of Representatives members and an aspirant for the Speakership, Muktar Aliyu Betara, on one hand, as well as the PDP and other minority parties on the other hand.

Sensing that his party, the APC, might zone the position of Speaker outside his region, the North East, Betara was said to have opened talks with leading lights of the PDP to add their numbers to his handful of supporters ahead of the contest.

But unknown to Betara, influential leaders of the PDP, especially returning members of the House, had an alternate plan to join forces with other parties to outsmart him as the APC might go into the contest divided.

Put together the number of the opposition parties is more than the APC’s 162 in the incoming House of Representatives. The PDP has 102 seats; Labour Party (LP) 34 seats; New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) 18 seats; All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has four seats while the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) have two seats each. 

And barring the outcome of the April 15 supplementary poll across some states, the opposition parties have a total of 163 seats. A total of 33 constituencies across the country are to take part in the supplementary poll.

Chief Ibori (6th from right), Hon. Wase (5th from right) and members of the Wase delegation…in a photo ops during the visit to Chief Ibori

But Ibori, while receiving the deputy Speaker, said he had made up his mind to direct his supporters who are members of the incoming House to support and vote for Wase. 

Ibori said: “I’m with you; I have done my checks on you and I’m convinced you are well prepared for the job and I am happy you are here even though I have sent words to you through our Rep members that they should go with you. I wish you all the best.

“Don’t hesitate to come to me anytime you are in need of whatever thing that will enhance this project. I will help you speak to all my friends, as many as I have. Many are waiting to put the right things properly to make Nigeria the envy of Africa and the world. You are good to go, you are in that mood”, the former Delta governor told Wase and his team.

Chief Osoba (4th from left), Hon. Wase (5th from left) and members of his delegation to Chief Osoba’s home

Osoba, who said the North Central deserved the Speaker slot described Wase as his “experienced and beloved son”.

 Chief Osoba stated: “This is your home; you are an experienced and beloved son of mine. North Central has been very crucial in APC electoral victories. North Central deserves to be Speaker even by performance. Awo said: We must reward performance and allocation was based on performance in those days. 

“So in the case of North Central, that should be done. Be rest assured. It will be zoned to North Central and then we go into the next stage. Wase, you are my beloved son, I repeat”. 

While welcoming Wase and his delegation to Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike reiterated his resolve to collaborate with the government at the centre. 

 Wike stated: “I have no apologies to make to anyone, I have said it severally that I will support your party at the national level.  You are an experienced person, our people will support. You will stabilise the House and we need you. We will give necessary support and ensure your victory; count on us.” 

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