‘Minority parties plotting to snatch leadership of the National Assembly’

...PDP’s Chinda from PH confirms lobbying going on

Confirmation has emerged that minority lawmakers in the National Assembly are plotting to upstage the majority party by snatching the leadership positions especially in the House of Representatives.

The minority parties with strong presence in the National Assembly (NASS) are the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which has 102 seats, Labour Party (LP) which has 35, and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) which has 18, totalling 155 seats against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that has 162. There are still 43 more seats to be determined by by-elections let alone many that would be decided at the tribunals. For now, the APC tops the minorities with only seven seats whereas there are 43 seats out there to grab and the minorities said they have big hopes to overtake the APC at the Green Chambers, at least.

The confirmation came in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, from a four-time member, Kingsley Chinda, who represents Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency.

In an interview at the Port Harcourt International Airport in Omagwa, the Governor Nyesom Wike ally hinted that the minority caucus in the parliament could cause some upsets by taking over the control of the in-coming National Assembly, if all things work according to plans.
BusinessDay gathered that several meetings are being held by the minority members to cement their plans.

Chinda however, said power belongs to God but that the possibility of the minority parties to capture the control of the in-coming parliament was glaring, if they remained dedicated and maintain the same vision and mission.

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According to Chinda, what he expects to happen at the 10th National Assembly is what he described as ‘sweet generic in parliamentary practice.’

“After the run-off elections, I see a situation where the minority parties put together will form the majority.”

This, he noted, does not mean that they would run the parliament because according to him, only the gavel will always remain the final authority of the parliament.

He strongly believes that the leadership would be stronger this time but noted that the in-coming President, being a politician, would know how to handle the situation more than the out-going president.

Another likely scenario would be cross-carpeting that may make the ruling APC get huge control of the NASS. This aspect was also confirmed by Chinda who already foresees the possibility.

He said this plus lobbying may put the 10th Nationality Assembly into the hands of the ruling party and end in what he called ‘a little to the right, a little to the left’.

“It could really be a game of a little to the right and a little to the left because the opposition will be engaged in more of constructive criticism as to ensure that the nation succeeds and not to destroy it.

“Whatever happens, however, I have a very huge task and responsibility to represent my people who elected me for the fourth time by ensuring that good laws are made, irrespective of the power play in the parliament because to whom much is given, much will be expected.”

He thanked the people of Obio/Akpor for the privilege given to him to represent them all these years and assured of faithful representation.

Chinda, a high-ranking parliamentarian, is already being tipped to lead the minorities in Parliament with all his experience as both ruling party member and later opposition member of Parliament.

He is also respected for being Gov Wike’s main leg in Parliament over the years. Observers however believe this may work against him because Wike tilts toward APC’s Bola Tinubu who is expected to take over in May 2023.

The least Tinubu expects of Wike is to pull together Chinda and others in Parliament to support the president and the APC; and Chinda is a full Wike man.

Others however, point to the fact that since Wike would be totally out of power by that time, Chinda may want to be his own man and swim where the waters favour him, which may be to lead the minorities in Parliament, not minding what his mentor thinks.

In such calculations, if speaker position swings to the South-South, he may be in pole-position to snatch it, and if not, he may go for deputy speaker. Already, he is seen to be in the thick and thin of the meetings and negotiations in the matter.