Another major political alliance emerged in the House of Representatives about two weeks after members-elect on the platform of minority parties in the chamber formed a coalition against the All Progressives Congress APC.
On Thursday, a member of the ruling APC and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party jointly issued a statement in Abuja to announce an alliance across party lines, claiming that 283 members-elect of the House had resolved to abide by the zoning plan of the ruling party.
There are 360 members in the House.
The statement was signed by Usman Kumo (APC/Gombe) and Kingsley Chinda (PDP/Rivers), as chairman and co-chairman of the alliance.
The statement was titled, ‘10th House: Coalition of Lawmakers-elect Commits to Respect Decision on Zoning…as 283 Lawmakers-elect, Governors, Others Endorse New Forum for a JOINT TASK for a United, Progressive Nigeria.’
The new alliance is coming two weeks after members-elect of the House of on the platform of opposition parties formed an alliance ahead of the inauguration of the 10th Assembly, with the aim of determining not only the leadership of the minority caucus but also the parliament.
The lawmakers-elect had met in Abuja where they mooted using their numbers as a bargaining power in their negotiations with the members seeking to be Speaker of the House in the coming Assembly.
The members-elect had unanimously adopted the slogan, ‘10th Assembly: Greater Majority,’ at the meeting.
At the meeting were old and newly-elected members of the House on the platforms of the seven opposition parties, namely Peoples Democratic Party, Labour Party, All Progressives Grand Alliance, Social Democratic Party, African Democratic Congress, Youth Progressive Party and New Nigeria People’s Party.
Sources at the meeting, part of which was held behind closed doors, said the coalition of minority parties might wrest power from the ruling APC, which presently has a majority in the House.
From the results of the 325 seats in the House so far declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the 2023 general elections, APC won 162 seats, while seven opposition parties have a total of 163 seats.
A breakdown of the minority caucus membership configuration shows that the PDP has 102; LP, 34; NNPP, 18; APGA, four; ADC, two; and SDP, two; and YPP, one.
However, the APC and PDP members in the caucus have now formed an alliance, with the claim that they have the endorsement of governors across party lines as well as the National Working Committee of the ruling party.
The statement partly read, “Ahead of the inauguration of the 10th House of Representatives in June, a coalition of returning and new members-elect from all political parties that won seats in the parliament has vowed to respect the decision of the majority party in the House, APC, on zoning the Speaker and Deputy Speaker seats in the House, and decision of opposition parties on minority leadership of the House in line with parliamentary best practices.
“The coalition, known as the ‘Joint Task – 10th Assembly,’ comprises 283 members-elect from the APC, the PDP, the Labour Party, the New Nigeria People’s Party, the Social Democratic Party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, African Democratic Congress and the Young Progressive Party.
“The main focus of the coalition is to promote the independence of the legislature; the inter-dependence of the legislature and other arms of the government to legislate for good governance and grassroots impact, constituency outreach, equity and fairness among members-elect as well as unity, equity and fairness in the emergence of presiding and principal officers in line with best parliamentary practice.”
It added, “Already, 283 members-elect, comprising both returning and new members, have endorsed the coalition, which awaits the decision of the ruling APC on the zoning of the various offices. The coalition has the blessings of 14 APC governors, nine PDP governors as well as several National Working Committee members of the ruling and opposition political parties.”