10th Speakership: ‘Greater Majority’ Caucus Rejects Abbas, To Endorse Betara, Onuoha
Barring last-minute changes, the largest bloc of the ‘Greater Majority’ has concluded plans to formally announce the endorsement of Murkta Betara and Miriam Onuoha for the positions of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the 10th Assembly in a move to counter the endorsement of Tajudeen Abbas by some members of the group.
Some members of the House of Reps bloc numbering 43 had on Wednesday announced their endorsement of Abbas despite the upcoming workshop in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, that would afford members the opportunity to formalise and adopt a candidate for the position of the Speaker.
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the last election, Peter Obi, would headline high profile members of the opposition parties that would attend the workshop to fashion out ways to adopt a candidate.
Sensing that a delay may hamper their prospect of producing Betara and Onuoha in June as Speaker and Deputy Speaker, the group would today, Thursday, formally declare their endorsement.
The event which a member of the ‘Greater Majority’ said would have taken place by 12pm was moved backward for a few hours to accommodate the investiture of President-elect Bola Tinubu and the vice President-elect, Kashim Shettima, by the outgoing president, Muhammadu Buhari.
A member of the Betara group told THE WHISTLER that the number of the ‘Greater Majority’ members-elect has depleted to 230 but that with strong support for Betera from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, members-elect, he commands the majority.
He put the number of those in the APC supporting Betara as “over 150,” noting that “other aspirants may step down for him.”
He further pointed out that “to win the race, he’s proposing Miriam Onuoha as his deputy and the Greater Majority’ has not objected to it.”
This is emerging against Wednesday’s announcement by a member-elect on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ikenga Ugochinyere, who led 63 members-elect to endorse Abbas, who’s the anointed candidate of APC’s National Working Committee.
An aide to one of the members-elect in the group being led by Peter Akpanke, member-elect to represent Bekwara/Obudu/Obanliku Federal Constituency, dismissed Ugochinyere, who will represent Ideato North/South Federal Constituency in the 10th Assembly, as weak, adding “his group does not have the number.”
He said an arrangement has been made to “declare full support for Betara,” adding “This is where the largest number is. Don’t worry, you will see when the group makes the announcement”.
Other APC aspirants who have joined Betara to protest against the endorsement of Abbas by the ruling party are Deputy Speaker Ahmed Wase; Chairman of the House Committee on Navy, Yusuf Gagdi; Chairman, House Committee on Appropriations, Aliyu Betara; Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, Sada Soli; Chinedu Ogah, Onuoha and Sani Jaji.