Ado Doguwa, the majority leader of the House of Representatives, and five other aspirants have stepped down from the speaker and deputy speakership race.
The aspirants stepped down at a meeting of members-elect under the auspices of the ‘10th Joint Task’ on Wednesday night in Abuja.
The speakership aspirants, Doguwa (APC-Kano), Abdulraheem Olaoye (APC-Ogun), and Makki Yalleman (APC-Jigawa), stepped down for Tajudeen Abbas (APC-Kaduna).
Also, the deputy speakership aspirants, Abiola Makinde (APC-Ondo), Francis Waive (APC-Delta) and Julius Ihonberev (APC-Edo), stepped down for Benjamin Kalu (APC-Abia).
The All Progressive Congress has earlier endorsed Messrs Abbas and Kalu for the office of the speaker and deputy, respectively.
The endorsement was further strengthened by the Minority Party Forum, a group of about 70 lawmakers-elect who announced their support for the duo.
Speaking on behalf of the speakership aspirant, Mr Doguwa said they had come to join the Abbas-Kalu campaign.
“I want to say on behalf of these great men around me here that we have individually and collectively decided to surrender our bid to become speaker this time around,” Mr Doguwa explained. “We have resolved to support our great party and the man they have chosen to be speaker, Rep Tajudeen Abbas.”
Speaking on behalf of the deputy speaker aspirants, Julius Ihonberev said that there was a time when strategies and tactics needed to be adjusted to support a democratic process that would work.
He said all three wanted to be the deputy speaker, believing it would be zoned in their favour, but it turned out differently.
“As loyal party persons, we decided to align with those that have been identified by the party. We want to say we are absolutely, undilutedly in support of the ticket as announced by the party that Rep Tajudeen Abbas will be our next speaker and Rep Benjamin Kalu will be the next deputy speaker,” Mr Ihonberev explained. “We want to assure you that we are prepared to do all it takes to ensure the success of this project.”
However, deputy speaker Ahmed Wase, chairman committee on appropriation, Muktar Betara, chairman committee on water resources, Sada Soli, Mariam Onouha and Yusuf Gagdi are still in the race.
On May 9, the National Working Committee of the APC zoned the Senate presidency of the forthcoming 10th National Assembly to the South-South and the speakership of the House of Representatives to the North-West.
The party also zoned the deputy Senate presidency to the North-West and deputy speakership to the South-East.