After weeks of speculations over its stand on the leadership of the 10th National Assembly, the Peoples Democratic Party has said the ruling All Progressives Congress would find itself a minority party on the floor of both houses on Tuesday, having entered into a working agreement with other opposition parties ahead of the inauguration of the parliament.
The spokesman of the party, Debo Ologunagba, disclosed this on Thursday at a press conference at the party’s national secretariat, Abuja.
Although the main opposition’s scribe did not disclose if the PDP would field candidates for both positions, he noted that the situation would be clearer on Tuesday when the 10th Assembly would be inaugurated.
According to him, lawmakers elected on the platform of the PDP are united and opposition parties are ready to leverage on their numbers to have a say on who becomes the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Addressing journalists at the event, Ologunagba said the parliament, being the symbol of democracy, must be protected from anti-democratic forces, adding that the party is working in collaboration with its members-elect in both houses to forge a common front ahead of Tuesday’s inauguration.
“With regard to the current race for the Presiding Officers of the National Assembly, it is instructive to note that the opposition parties put together to form a strong majority in the National Assembly and we are very mindful of that.
“The PDP leadership is working together with our members-elect and opposition parties in the two chambers.
“Irrespective of the ongoing and claims in the media, I want to inform you that the PDP has a clear direction which we hold close to our chest. Our members are united in that direction and it will show on the floor of both Houses of the National Assembly on Tuesday, June 13, 2023.
“In all, we do not discountenance the fact that the opposition parties have the majority in the National Assembly which we are ready to deploy maximally,” he said.
Taking a swipe at the APC, the PDP accused the ruling party and the Independent National Electoral Commission of allegedly plotting to derail the cause of justice in the various Election Petition Tribunals across the country.
“INEC is seeking to frustrate the court and derail the cause of justice,” Ologunagba said.
He also condemned what he called the attack on PDP members at Election Petition Tribunal premises in Ogun, Nasarawa and Kaduna States.
The attacks, according to Ologunagba, “is a ploy by the APC to instill fear in the judiciary so as to derail the cause of justice.”
He further argued that the PDP held out for a live coverage of tribunal sittings to avail Nigerians the opportunity of seeing events live as they unfold; a request that was turned down by the tribunal.
In view of the alleged attacks, the PDP demanded the immediate transfer of the Ogun and Nasarawa States’ Election Tribunals to Abuja for the purpose of safety and justice.
Three former PDP chieftains Godswill Akpabio, Orji Kalu and Osita Izunaso as well as APC stalwart, Abdulaziz Yari, are gunning for the Office of the Senate President while Abbas Tajudeen, Mukhtar Batera and Idris Wase, all members of the APC are the leading contenders for the Speakership of the House.
The leadership of the APC had earlier endorsed the duo of Akpabio and Abbas for the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively.
After the February 25 parliamentary elections, the APC produced 59 Senators leaving the opposition parties with 50. In the House of Representatives, the ruling party boasts of 177 members while opposition parties have 182
It would be recalled that Ismaila Mainhanchi, from Taraba State, a House of Representatives member-elect on the platform of the PDP died shortly after his election, leaving the opposition short of a one.