Vying for leadership positions in the two houses of the National Assembly is not the exclusive right of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The leading opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, made this assertion on Tuesday.
It said just like members of the APC, all the legislators elected on the platform of the PDP could contest and be elected into any of the offices available.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement issued on Tuesday, said it was ridiculous for the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, to think that APC had exclusive right to the leadership of the National Assembly.
He argued that the National Assembly belonged to all Nigerians as represented.
“For emphasis, Section 50 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is clear in providing that “There shall be:- (a) a President and a Deputy President of the Senate, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves; and (b) a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves,” he said.
He added: “Also Section 92 (1) makes the same provision for the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of State House of Assembly.
“The PDP, therefore, does not only have a constitutional say in the process of the emergence of the leadership of the 9th National Assembly, but will, as a matter of constitutional right, field candidates into presiding offices of both chambers, if need be.”
He said APC had enjoyed the benefit of the provisions of Section 50, with the defection of then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal from the PDP to the APC, in October 2014, without relinquishing the post of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“In fact, the former Minority Leader of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, echoed the constitutional provision that `the constitution requires only that the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be elected by members of that House from among themselves’”.
He added: “Moreover, in June 2015, Hon. Terkimbi Ikyange and Hon. Peter Azi, both of APC, were elected Speakers of Benue and Plateau State Houses of Assembly respectively, though their party, the APC, was minority in both Houses.”