As power brokers in All Progressives Congress (APC) slug it out in search of who will lead the two chambers in the 10th National Assembly, the Peoples Democratic Party is bracing up to provide a formidable main opposition to the ruling party.
As part of the measures to achieve that purpose, PDP organised a retreat in Bauchi for its National Assembly members-elect.
In the immediate past political dispensation many observers of developments in the political space believed that PDP did not provide enough opposition to the ruling APC.
However, it appears the 10th National Assembly will be different if the Bauchi Resolution is anything to reckon with.
During the retreat, former Vice-President and the party’s candidate in the Feb.25 Presidential election Atiku Abubakar charged the Rep-elect: “don’t ever lose sight of your role as position which is holding the government accountable.”
He further told the members-elect that as opposition it was imperative the party played its role to the benefit of all Nigerians.
“Our party’s position on specific programmes and policies must be followed strictly; you must remember that Nigerians should benefit from your role as the opposition,” he said.
The PDP currently has 118 members-elect in the House of Representatives while the APC has 176.
The PDP is lobbying other opposition parties such as Labour Party which has 35 members, NNPP with 18 members, YPP which produced one member, APGA which has five members, SDP with two members, ADC which also has two members to give the APC a run for its money.
The desire to win over LP to join it in providing a viable and formidable opposition made PDP to persuade LP Reps-elect to be part of the Bauchi engagement.
Rep. Toby Okechukwu, (PDP-Enugu) and the outgoing Deputy Minority Leader said for the party to win over Nigerians, it must truly represent their interests.
He said it was important that the lawmakers and the party as a body must seek to promote good governance at all times.
According to him PDP as the party in opposition must be united, work in concert with other opposition parties, adding that these factors would determine how Nigerians will rate the party in future elections.
“To win over Nigerians we must manifest good opposition for the good of the electorate; elected members must continue to be loyal to the party and the country”, he said.
Rep. Francis Agbedi (PDP-Bayelsa) said the retreat for the lawmakers has further emboldened them and charged them to be more committed to their duties as members of 10th National Assembly on the platform of PDP and minority parties
He said it also exposed them to their responsibilities as the leading opposition party in the National Assembly.
“We should show to Nigerians that we are the opposition party in 10th National Assembly. When inaugurated, Nigerians expect those representing them to do so effectively.
“Our parties have campaigned to Nigerians based on their manifestoes which promise good governance, including effective representation in the National Assembly.
“We are expected to ensure that whatsoever that is not in consonance with the manifesto of our party is not good enough for Nigerians”, he said.
Victor Ogene, who led Labour Party Reps-elect to the retreat said that their participation in the retreat was by choice not because they ‘were ambushed’ as being insinuated in some quarters.
He said their participation was a demonstration of their desire to ensure that Nigerians enjoyed good governance by forming a cohesive opposition to the ruling APC.
“If not for lack of cohesion in the PDP probably we would not have LP because LP is a child of circumstance.
“There is also the issue of party discipline. They did not have that party discipline, they lost cohesion and that was also what brought about Peter Obi and the LP trend “, he said.
As PDP strategises to provide a formidable opposition in the National Assembly, observers are keen to see how the party will execute this Bauchi resolution. ti people.
They argue that some of the opposition lawmakers have already pitched their tents with various factions of APC legislators who are campaigning to led the 10th National Assembly even when their combined numbers gives them edge over APC.
Some of them have queued behind the preferred candidate of the APC for the office of Speaker, Rep, Tajudeen Abbas and Rep. Benjamin Kalu as his Deputy.
Others have opted for the G7 camp which is made up of Rep. Aliyu Betara, Rep. Ahmed Wase, Rep. Yusuf Gadgi, Rep Sani Jaji, Rep. Miriam Onuhoa and Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa. (NANFeatures)