To Hon Bago, a strong contender for the speaker of the incoming House of Representatives, among his priority is the accommodation of all interests as the head of the Green Chamber.
He, however, remarked that when it comes to parliamentary matters, party affiliation counts less in the pursuit of national goals and election of its leaders.
Bago said that he is vying for the office of speaker of the 9th Assembly because the North Central zone deserves to occupy the seat. He argued that the region has not held the position since the return of democracy in 1999, a situation Bago stated, smacks of marginalisation of the people of the zone.
The lawmaker posited that it was a fallacy for anybody to think that members of the parliament are biased to party affiliation in the Lower Chambers.
He said: “It’s going to be a fallacy for anybody to think the parliament has political party affiliation. Once you are in the chambers, the party doesn’t matter – individual, community, constituency interests, geographical, geopolitical interests play. So, for anybody to think it’s a winner takes all, it will never happen. It’s a dream.”
The third-time member of the House of Representatives, who visited the corporate headquarters of LEADERSHIP Group Limited in Abuja yesterday, added that “when you have an opposition that has 150 members, they are a necessary evil. Whether you like it or not, you must consult them. They are our colleagues. We are already talking.”
Hon. Bago, who described himself as a core Buharist, said that he had been with the president form the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), which fused with other parties to form the APC. The lawmaker said that he had written letters to President Buhari and the APC leadership to intimate them of his aspiration for the speakership of the Lower House.
On zoning and endorsement of certain aspirants, he said: “This issue of getting anointed people to man certain positions is a 2013 arrangement. There is no need for people to pretend. The desperation for the speakership and Senate presidency is for what? Why must it be that person? These are questions Nigerians should be asking. Why do you want to anoint a person if he’s popular?
“Do you want to have a speaker that will not even last a month? No! We are not ready for these kinds of issues. The party should think wisely, look at things critically and come up with results from an informed position that will make sure that the policies of our government are supported by laws,” Bago said.
Asked what model of leadership he would introduce, the lawmaker said that his administration would ensure that the independence of the legislature is entrenched and ensure that ambiguous lines in the Nigerian constitution are really amended, adding that “the architecture of Nigeria must have to be looked into and addressed accordingly. Our parliament must be fashioned toward civilization.”
He said that the crisis that trailed the emergence of Hon. Yakubu Dogara as speaker and the Senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, was not well managed by the APC. “And that is why we are waking people up to the fact that the North Central is being muzzled out of the way.” Bago said that he would reach out to the opposition PDP to garner the number to be the speaker. “They are our colleagues and we are already talking,” he disclosed.
He argued that since 1999, the North Central had not produced the speaker of the House or even a deputy, adding that all other zones had produced speakers and or deputy speakers.
“We have done so well for the victory of this party (APC) and we are only asking for fairness in the political equation of this country. Since 1999, nobody has been given the opportunity in the House of Representatives from the North Central to either be a speaker or deputy speaker.
“However, if you talk about equity, fairness and the constitution which all of us will use on the day of swearing in to take the oath, I think we must also imbibe the provision of the constitution.
“The constitution is clear and the APC constitution is also very clear that every federating unit must be catered for in any federal arrangement. And the party constitution also corroborated this.”
He held that it was necessary for the party to recognise the youths for such positions in line with the Not Too Young to Run Act, adding that if given the mandate, his regime would ensure the enactment of laws that would enable the APC to achieve its manifesto and good governance in different sectors.
Noting that he had taken the necessary steps, Bago said: “I have written letters to the party and President Muhammadu Buhari who is the leader of our party, as a loyal party man. And you need to understand that I am a core Buharist.
“I started with Buhari in 2003. I came to the House of Representatives in 2011 under the platform of the CPC. Since then, I have been in this party. The merger met me in 2015 and till date, I am in APC. I have done what is supposed to be done to notify them of my intention,” he said.