The All Progressives Congress (APC) has insisted that it does not need the support of lawmakers from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for its preferred candidates to emerge as the leaders of the incoming ninth National Assembly.
Lanre Issa-Onilu, APC National Publicity Secretary, re-stated the party’s position in an interview on Saturday.
The APC, being the party that won majority of seats in the federal legislative elections, has endorsed Senator Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila to become the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively.
However, some lawmakers-elect within the ruling party have contested the choice of candidates and have declared or contemplating to declare their bid to contest for positions of principal officers of the parliament.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has threatened to negate the plans by the APC to install its own leadership, saying that it (PDP) could present its own candidate or direct its members to vote for someone else.
But Issa-Onilu insisted that the APC is the majority party in both the Senate and House of Representatives and, therefore, have the clout to get its preferred candidates to the finish line without the support of opposition lawmakers.
The ruling party spokesperson noted that the statement informing its lawmakers-elect to lobby members of the PDP was not a contradiction of the earlier directive issued by Adams Oshiomhole, the party’s National Chairman.
Oshiomhole had earlier said the ruling party does not need the support of opposition lawmakers to ensure Lawan and Gbajabiamila emerge as leaders of the National Assembly.
Issa-Onilu, however, noted that the APC would reach out to the PDP lawmakers when necessary, especially when their support is needed to pass a bill sent by the executive arm of government.
“What I said and what the chairman said are the same because we agreed before both of us talked,” Issa-Onilu told the Punch.
“What we are saying is that we have the majority and we don’t need the PDP lawmakers to elect our national officers.
“But there will be times that we may need two-thirds of members. When we need two-thirds, we have to reach out. That is the time the opposition anywhere in the world also wait for and make demands, otherwise they will withhold their support.
“But once you are using simple majority for anything, we don’t need them.”
Issa-Onilu said there was no way there could be unity between the PDP and the APC lawmakers in the National Assembly since the ideologies of the two parties are different.
He also explained that the majority, being the APC, must always have their way, as it is the precedent of parliaments globally.
Issa-Onilu said: “There is nothing that is called unity in the National Assembly. Opposition must defend those who voted for them because they don’t believe in what the ruling party promised.
“The opposition must represent them, that is why it is said that the minority will have their say while the majority will have their way.
“When they say no, we will say let us vote. Because we have the majority, we will always win, except when we need two-thirds.
“So, anytime we don’t need two-thirds, we don’t need to dialogue with them. We will go ahead because it is our government and it is our promise that we want to fulfil.
“We did not campaign to Nigerians that each time we want to fulfil our promise, we will go and work with the PDP.
“If they wanted us to work with the PDP, they would have told us to merge. We are not operating the same system.”