The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has advised political parties to resist the urge to impose candidates for leadership positions in the two chambers of the National Assembly.
Dogara gave the advice while speaking at the orientation ceremony organised for Batch B of the 9th House of Representatives-elect and senators-elect on Monday in Abuja.
According to him, history has shown that sponsoring candidates by political parties for National Assembly leadership positions is always a futile effort.
He advised political parties with such agenda to ensure that they carried all their members along so that they would have a sense of belonging and defend their leaders, when the need arose.
He said: “I am not here to dictate to the political parties, parties have their manifesto, parties know how they conduct their businesses.
“But one thing I have said, if you followed the business during this induction exercise, is that it is always better to allow the leadership to emerge from the people.
“But where leadership has been forced upon the people, in the history of the National Assembly, we are all part of this history in Nigeria, it has never endured.
“Whoever a political party is sponsoring or supporting, they should make sure that they have the backing of the legislators so that they accept it, own the process and own the leadership.
“That way, they will always come out to defend it, but in a situation where it is forced, literarily driven down their throats, in most cases, even in the Senate, it doesn’t augur well.”
The Speaker said an aspiring leader of the House must possess the ability to go about achieving his ambition without rancour.
He further said such an aspirant must also have the ability to steer the affairs of the legislature to surpass the achievements made by the 8th Assembly.
He said that those that were elected would be in the House for four years to serve the people and leadership was always something that emerged for people.
“Some of us, who have been on the field, know how that is done and our advice is that we stay calm,” Dogara said.
He said though many people were aspiring for leadership positions in the National Assembly, it would be imperative to have a rancour-free election.
He said the important thing was for the emergence of those that would “be able to sustain what we have done in the 8th Assembly and even surpass it.
“We do not want any leadership that will take us back, we have made a lot of mileage.
“And we hope we are able to get the kind of leadership that will build on the achievements of this assembly, which is unparalleled in our legislative history.
“So, I will advise members to look at members that have thrown themselves into the race to see who it is that will aggregate their aspirations better and be able to surpass the records of this current assembly.”